Challenges of Leading Groups in Criminal Justice
Leaders of criminal justice organizations have complex challenges that require creative and innovative approaches and solutions. Future leaders in corrections will need to consider how to respond to and incorporate the benefits of various trends. Corrections leaders will deal with direct operational issues, such as staffing shortages and a shift toward privatization. They will need to adjust to the changes in sentencing laws. It is likely that the changes in the use of mandatory sentencing laws and the use of diversion programs will present challenges. Recidivism will continue to be a key measure of the effectiveness of corrections initiatives. Privatization
Years ago Texas was running out of money to support the prison system’s constant drain on the budget. The legislators decided to privatize some of the prisons. Other states as well had private security companies running several prisons. As initiatives such as “the war on drugs”, “getting tough on crime,” and “three strikes out” began to grow, there was even a greater demand for privately run prisons because the government run facilities were overpopulated. Privately run prisons had little oversight by the state government. Employee turnover rates were bad enough in the government run prisons, and became even worse in the private prisons. Private prisons had a turnover rate of 53%, whereas publicly run prisons had a 16% turnover. The environment in the privately run prisons was unstable. Because of staffing shortages and poor regulations in private prisons, escapes were common. Perimeters and posts were left unprotected by guards. The environment became increasingly dangerous as inmate-on-staff and inmate-on-inmate assaults rose by 50% in the private prisons.(Brickner & Diaz, 2011) According to Brickner and Diaz, “Prison privatization is gaining traction in some states because officials and the public are concerned about the rising cost of incarceration.” (2011, np.). The public can expect more private run prisons as state funds continue to decline. Private security companies have shown that they can operate a prison as a lower cost than the government can, but offender rehabilitation initiatives may suffer as a result of privatization. Taylor and Cooper indicate that, “U.S. critics argue that private firms ultimately privilege profit over the interests of the public, the prisoners and their rehabilitation.” (2008, p. 8). The future is almost certain to find more privately run prisons. The challenge for leaders will be to improve the operation of both public and private prisons so organizational objectives of the criminal justice system as a whole can be supported. Future initiatives will require an open dialog of communication, collaboration, and teamwork. Staffing Shortages
Staffing shortages in the corrections system and criminal justice system is a problem that has already started to become a major challenge. As the future looms and the ability to maintain a safe and effective number of staff in prisons becomes more difficult, the importance of addressing the problem and finding solutions to it becomes vital to the success of the corrections system. Part of the difficulty in staffing currently stems from the budget cuts that corrections facilities are undergoing and are facing. Without acquiring the funding to keep the staffing level at optimal numbers, prisons are forced to have higher than desired inmate to staff ratios. Additionally, this problem even affects law enforcement and the court systems. “Due to the prisons having lower staffing and less of a budget, it is frequent for offenders to be released to balance out the problem, even if they are not reformed” (R. Knorr, personal communication, August 30, 2013). This leads to offenders committing new crimes for the police and courts to deal with. Then the offenders are returned to prison. The challenge that faces the leaders in the...
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