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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76772 Find in a Library
Title: Keynote Address (From American Correctional Association Proceedings, P 5-16, 1981, Barbara Hadley Olsson and Ann Dargis, ed. - See NCJ-76771)
Author(s): P M Wald
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: American Correctional Assoc
Alexandria, VA 22314
Sale Source: American Correctional Assoc
206 N. Washington St., Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This keynote address, delivered at the 110th Congress of Correction of the American Correctional Association, broadly surveys issues currently facing corrections administrators and offers some general solutions to these problems.
Abstract: Corrections represents the least powerful and least supported component of the criminal justice system. The system's structure permits problems to be passed from law enforcement agencies to the courts and, finally, to the Nation's prisons and jails. In order for corrections administrators to gain some control over the process by which problems are solved and in order for them to improve institutional functioning, they must take several steps. First, corrections administrators should promote public understanding of the system by being open, accessible, and amenable to working with special interest groups. Media representatives should be encouraged to provide balanced coverage, and corrections personnel should remain in regular contact with the media, rather than providing information only during crises. Second, corrections officials must become involved in the policymaking process both in the executive and legislative branches. High-level appointees should recognize and accept the political nature of the jobs, should attempt to influence policy from its earliest development stages, and should avoid technical jargon when dealing with nonprofessional policymakers. Third, by developing alliances with community groups (such as minorities, women, and youth groups), and educators, corrections administrators can increase public knowledge of ongoing problems in corrections and help cultivate community support for innovative programs that may entail some 'risk' as perceived by the public. Fourth, corrections leaders should focus on a small number of important goals and should work to achieve them, rather than attempting to reach a larger number of diverse goals. Finally, these officials must learn to operate within the legal environment of the courts and must eliminate rights violations if they are to succeed in controlling the system in the face of prisoner rights law suits.
Index Term(s): Correctional facilities; Correctional planning; Correctional reform; Corrections management; Inmate staff relations; Media coverage; Overcrowding; Press relations; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public education; Public relations programs
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