Correctional Administration: Integrating Theory and Practice

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9780130871473: Correctional Administration: Integrating Theory and Practice

Paying particular attention to present issues, policies and procedures, Correctional Administration provides excellent coverage of both theory and practice. The book is written to help readers understand the past, present and future of corrections, the functions of correctional administrators and the issues that drive administrators to create new operational approaches to new challenges. The book is organized to provide readers with essential history and background, an understanding of critical issues, the functions of correctional operations and projections for future needs. Features excellent case studies and practical examples This volume covers the past, present and future of correctional management and administration, managing offenders, managing the environment, managing correctional staff and the future of correctional administration. For corrections professionals and others interested in correctional administration.

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Correctional Administration: Integrating Theory and Practice provides excellent coverage of both the theory and practice of correctional administration. This textbook helps students understand the past, present, arid future of corrections, the functions of correctional administrators, and the issues that will drive the roles required of administrators, as they create new operational approaches in response to new challenges. It is organized into five sections, each providing readers of essential history and background, an understanding of critical issues, the important functions of correctional operations, and projections for future needs and adjustments to correctional administration.

Correctional Administration: Integrating Theory and Practice has several features that make it a unique learning opportunity for students. These include:

  • In-depth coverage of topics in correctional administration and general public administration issues
  • Practical Perspectives: excellent case studies incorporated throughout the text
  • You're the Correctional Administrator: end-of-each-chapter discussion and exercises for students that place them in a decision making role where they mast solve a real problem
  • Web site linkages and exercises included at the end of each chapter
  • Understandable and interesting writing style

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

This textbook has been written to help you understand the past, present, and future of corrections; the functions of correctional administrators; and the issues that drive administrators as they create new operational approaches to respond to new challenges. It is organized into five sections, each providing readers with essential history and background, an understanding of critical issues, the important functions of correctional operations, and projections for future needs and adjustments to correctional administration. The goal of the textbook is to provide a framework for understanding and action. As correctional practitioners confront some of the issues and critical functions presented in this text, they should be able to put them in both historical and managerial perspective, and avoid mistakes that might occur without such an orientation.

Part I of the text (Correctional Management and Administration) provides a discussion of the correctional surroundings from past to present. The information presented includes a description of management development in the private sector and how that management expertise was transferred and reorganized to meet public sector bureaucracies. There is a presentation of the specific development of correctional administration and how the evolving theories and criminal justice philosophies resulted in certain management practices.

Part I also includes a description of management as it differs from leadership and how the complex issues of the future will require leaders to modify traditional styles of leadership. Finally, the section includes a discussion of how administrators can guide their organizations through planning exercises to identify future challenges and appropriate responses. By the end of Part I, you have a solid background of management and leadership, the issues that drive correctional administration, and the approaches to "reach ahead" and proactively confront their agencies' futures.

In Part II (Managing Offenders), you learn the history of various correctional goals and philosophies that influenced the development of correctional administration. Correctional goals often seem almost contradictory to one another, because administrators must try to balance the need to punish, deter, and rehabilitate criminal offenders. Key elements enabling administrators to reduce criminals into smaller, and somewhat homogeneous groups include risk assessment and offender classification. During the past several decades, corrections has progressed beyond subjective and even judgmental approaches to handling offenders. More recently, offender classification is "actuarial" and attempts to quantify risk or dangerousness and chances for success for criminal offenders.

With the help of objective classification instruments, correctional administrators create and offer offenders a variety of programs and services to meet their individual needs, and it is hoped, prepare them for a crime-free future. The variety of programs provided by correctional agencies is described and examined. These programs may address individual offender needs, such as substance abuse and lack of education; they may be critical in reducing idleness and peacefully managing prisons, or they may have some positive affect on both of these areas. At this point, you realize the difficulty correctional administrators face in meeting conflicting correctional goals, but you understand the methods used to maintain balance in the operations.

In Part III (Managing the Environment—The Prison Setting), you learn the organization and activities critical for creating a safe and secure prison environment. Prisons are complex organizations, with difficult missions and a variety of client groups, many of whom have different goals and objectives for their involvement with the organization. There are a multitude of components (such as physical security, ,inmate disciplinary programs, contraband control, and inmate accountability) that must be effectively administered to achieve a safe and secure prison. Today, more than ever, there are many violent and dangerous individuals in prisons. The correctional administrator must, therefore, understand the tools available to manage this population in order to protect staff and other inmates.

No correctional administrator can be successful in managing offenders or the environment without paying particular attention to the development and performance of their most important resource—correctional staff. In Part IV (Managing Correctional Staff), you learn the functions of human resource management within correctional agencies, including how agencies recruit, hire, train, and develop staff. One of the keys to effectively using human resources in a correctional environment is supervision, which involves how supervisors assign work, monitor and evaluate performance, and prepare staff for upward mobility. Finally, in this section, there is a thorough description of the various jobs available to those who choose correctional careers. These descriptions include the type of work required, pay and working conditions, and opportunity for advancement. Also, there is a presentation of the critical role of leadership and how it affects staff throughout a correctional organization.

Finally, the study of correctional administration is concluded with a look toward the future. Many issues that will confront correctional administrators over the next decade are presented and discussed. You will realize that correctional administration is not a static event; it evolves in response to issues that must be confronted. One critical issue involves managing tightened budgets under increasing fiscal pressure. Many approaches to fiscal administration are considered, and there is an in-depth review of the current role of the private sector contracting for the delivery of correctional services. Our study of correctional administration ends with a look to new issues of the future and to new approaches that are likely to evolve as corrections continues to change.

This text was written with several goals in mind, but the most important goal was to give those who are considering corrections a realistic appraisal of it as a career opportunity. It is important to convey the difficulty of the work in this arena, as well as the potential enjoyment and fulfillment that can accompany doing a challenging job well, while contributing to the public good. With the combination of background, philosophy, policy, and current practice, you get an authentic and pragmatic understanding of the world of correctional administration.

This text includes a variety of learning tools and aids. Practical Perspectives present real case studies of correctional administrators, the challenges they faced, and the decisions they made to handle a situation in a certain manner. In the Problems and Solutions you have the opportunity to discuss how to deal with certain issues and challenges that are likely to confront correctional administrators. In the feature You're the Correctional Administrator, you must use knowledge and resources to respond to a problem and develop a solution. The Web Link Exercises provide you with Web site addresses that relate to the topics being studied. Not only are you instructed to visit the Web sites but you are also assigned learning activities to complete. The Key Terms reinforce your understanding of the terminology of corrections and correctional administration. Like any discipline, correctional administration has a language unto itself, and familiarity with the terms and their uses helps you learn and become comfortable in your study.

Overall, this text is geared toward building a knowledge of correctional administration that can be used throughout your careers. The examples and case studies not only convey the types of substantive issues that must be addressed but also the thought processes that are often used in considering optional solutions to problems. Corrections is not a career for those who do not want to be challenged, who do not want to be in a "people business," and who do not want to contribute to the protection and safety of society. It is for those who are willing to expose themselves to public scrutiny, second-guessing, and even life-and-death decision making. This text is designed to help you consider whether correctional administration is the right career for you.

Richard P. Seiter, Ph.D.

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