Submitted to: Professor Philip Terry - Smith
Submitted by: Janelle Wright
Date Due: October 23, 2010
The purpose of this paper is to give an understanding to the organization that I work for which is, Community Education Centers’ as a system and how the mission statement plays out as a guide. Hoffman Hall is one of the many entities to the overall system of Community Education Centers’. According to Anderson, Carter, and Lowe (1999), a system is defined as an organized whole made of components that interact in a way distinct from their interaction with other entities, and that endures over some period of time. I will discuss my organization’s mission statement and how it is supposed to work as a focal system for sentenced inmates to reduce recidivism. The focal system refers to the system that is the object of attention at a particular moment. It must be specified in order to be consistent with the demand that the perspective of the viewer should be stated (Anderson, Carter, and Lowe, 1999, p. 290) Community Education Centers’ (CEC) is a large holon with 19 facilities designed to educate the inmate population in a therapeutic approach in order to reduce recidivism. According to Anderson, Carter, and Lowe (1999), a holon denotes that is both part of a larger suprasystem and is itself a suprasystem to other systems. As stated in CEC’s mission statement, the focus is to provide a drug-free, healthy, and educational environment, therefore, allowing the participants to be discharged with the knowledge and skills necessary to live productive lives upon reintegration into the community. Hoffman Hall is one of CEC’s many sub-systems that is supposed to support this statement in order to add to increased recidivism of the inmate population. While many employees work hard to maintain that focus, there is still the error of inconsistency with the program that does not allow the mission to be followed through. Hoffman Hall has only been in place for two years, so naturally there is room for improvement. However, the move from the mission statement comes from boundary issues with the educators not being able to separate their personal feelings and egos from doing their jobs.
Hoffman Hall is a 400 bed facility that is set up to hold inmates that either have been sentenced up to 23 months, or have not been sentenced and are awaiting court dates. During their stay it is expected that the inmates comply with the therapeutic community setting. The first approach is to change the term inmate to resident, so that the residents will not feel labeled while in the program. It is an expectation of each resident to complete all groups, classes, counseling sessions, and any other entity set in place deemed as being successful in the program. The residents are supposed to successfully go through four phases before a determination of completion is made. As I stated above, the inconsistency in the program causes a major deviation from the residents becoming successful.
The suprasystem cannot work if the many subsystem components of this holon are not on the same page, or in constant agreement on what the focus is. In Anderson, Carter, and Lowe (1999), a suprasystem is a larger system that includes the focal system; “whole” of which the focal system is a “part”. With Hoffman Hall being a Philadelphia Prison System holding facility, the residents do not often feel the need to comply with the therapeutic guidelines. They are brought to the facility not knowing where they are going. Once they get there and hear the rules and regulations, some of their minds become closed to the program because most just want to do their time and go home. Educating closed minds within this holon has not been made simple. There is the clinical team that is set up to provide that therapeutic training for motivating the residents. Next, there is...