Today's administrators have it tough. Prison populations continue to rise yet the funds needed to effectively manage a facility get tighter and tighter. All the while, legislators and the public continue to scrutinize the system and clamor for reform. It doesn't seem possible to manage all of this in a day let alone an entire career without getting off track and forgetting about what matters most, keeping facilities and communities safe. Guest writer Robert Hood thinks the best way to effectively lead through all of today's pressures is to stick to excelling at the basics. In this week's article he offers his thoughts and the most important fundamentals.
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Back to the basics for effective leadership
By Robert Hood
Proactive approaches for all correctional environments
By 2011 one in every 178 U.S. residents will live in prison, according to a report entitled, Public Safety, Public Spending: Forecasting America’s Prison Population 2007-2011 prepared by The Pew Charitable Trusts Public Safety Performance Project. America will have more than 1.7 million men and women in prison, which could cost taxpayers as much as $27.5 billion over the next five years beyond what is currently spent on prisons. The challenge for prison officials is to operate facilities in a cost-effective manner without jeopardizing security and quality programs. Public accountability of correctional administrators will be at an historic level.
Regardless of the security level or mission, there are basic elements of effective prison leadership that will guide administrators through the upcoming years of enhanced scrutiny. Areas such as sanitation, inmate programs, security, key control, tool control, visibility, communications, responsiveness, staff training, inmate/staff accountability, teamwork, professionalism, policy knowledge and compliance, and completed staff work are described in the following manner: More
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Regarding Check it at the gate, avoid the burnout, 6/13/07
This article really hit home for me. As the wife of a 16 year CO veteran, we have been dealing with the psychological issues of the job since the day we married. In 2006, my husband was caught up in a race riot at his facility and was injured. Although the physical trauma has healed, the psychological trauma has not.
He has not been back inside the gate since that day, and does not intend ever to go back. This, too, is a source of distress, as he invested a big chunk of his life in that job and is now at loose ends. Very few individuals can do that job day after day and not be changed. The public is clueless, and the majority of mental health professionals are just as in the dark. No one, but no-one, can know what its like to put on that uniform unless they have done it, and done it daily for some length of time.
I was a CO for seven years before moving into treatment with the Idaho Department of Corrections. I think Sgt. Evert hit the nail on the head. I could and still do relate to many of the issues that were brought up.
Warren Lanphier, Pre-Release Specialist SICI/PRC
Wonderful article, beautifully articulated. No matter what the work environment, mental health and well-being are the foundation of optimal performance and a positive atmosphere. Corrections staff in general and line staff in particular are the instrument through which the corrections mission is conducted and attained. From an organizational standpoint it is imperative that these instruments be kept sharp and clean and functional.
From an ethical standpoint taking care of your people should be non-negotiable. For staff to be able to "keep it together," a monthly inservice on stress management and related topics should be mandatory, accompanied by a one-on-one confidential debriefing session with a mental health provider or peer supporter.
Caterina G. Spinaris Tudor, Ph.D., LPC
Executive Director, Desert Waters Correctional Outreach
Thanks for your professional insight on this matter. I am guilty of not talking about things that happen at work because I am a female CO and most male friends I have say I should quit the job. I love the job I do and I have chosen this as my profession.
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Upcoming stories on Corrections.com and the Corrections Connection ezine
Focus Issues 2007
We are currently accepting submissions for all issues.
CORRECTIONS.COM FEATURE STORIES
Foundations: Micromangement myths
The term “micro-manager” is common. But, is it really fully understood? The concept is not as simple as it appears. In fact, there are seven misconceptions about micro-management. More
Mission: Success - Indicators to assault
When we speak about the use of force, I notice more and more that officers either need or want the green light before they act. When it comes to the use of force COs deep down have an intimate fear of either reacting too soon, not at the right time, or not at all. They have a natural ingrained fear of the criminal themselves, or their administration for not supporting their actions or decisions, or of their peers for not having their backs because of those very same reasons. More
Anticipate and prevent
The morose repercussions of an offender suicide can reverberate through a facility for days, weeks or months. As staff, offenders and family come to grips with an in-custody death, procedures and processes are usually revisited to prevent an even like this from happening again. More
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Federal Bureau of Prisons licenses ATG’s pharmacy administration system
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (Bureau) has licensed ATG’s Pharmacy Administration System for all its 114 institutions nationwide. The system has been successfully piloted and full deployment is expected to be completed in 24 months. More
Community Education Centers acquires CiviGenics
Community Education Centers, Inc. (CEC), the leading provider of offender reentry services, today announced that it has acquired CiviGenics, Marlborough, Mass., the largest provider of in-prison treatment programs. More
PCS Awarded the San Diego County Sheriff's Detention Facilities, California Inmate Telephone Service Contract
Public Communications Services, Inc. the industry leader in providing inmate communications solutions to the corrections industry, is pleased to announce that San Diego County, California Sheriff's Department has signed a 3 year contract with PCS, Inc. for their inmate telephone services. More
Gill joins RIDOC legal team
Eamonn G. Gill has become senior legal counsel for the Rhode Island Department of Corrections where he will focus on labor and discipline matters. Read more
Visit our job center today
APPA 32nd Annual Training Institute
Date: 7/8 - 7/11/07
Participate in over 70 educational sessions for all levels in the community corrections profession. Network with your peers at special events. View the latest products in the resource expo. Build your career--earn contact hour credit. More
Correctional Education Association 2007 Annual Conference
Date: 7/8 - 7/11/07
The CEA Executive Board and 2007 Conference Chairs invite you to attend the 62nd CEA Conference in Atlanta, GA; the big city full of Southern hospitality. Workshop Proposals may be submitted electronically on CEA's web site, ceanational.org. More
Anger Management Certification Training
Date: 7/12 - 7/13/07
40-hour certification training programs. Option 1- Live training (2 days) followed by online training modules. Option 2- Home study program. Consists of DVD plus online training modules.More
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
I am not really concerned if the glass if half full or half empty. I tend to check if the glass is clean.
- Joseph Bouchard, Librarian, Michigan Department of Corrections