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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 119106 Find in a Library
Title: Twenty Years of Prison History (From Current Australian Trends in Corrections, P 1-7, 1988, David Biles, ed. -- See NCJ-119105)
Author(s): D Grant
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Federation Press (Distributed by Gaunt)
Annandale, NSW 2038, Australia
Sale Source: Federation Press (Distributed by Gaunt)
71 Johnson Street
P.O. Box 45
Annandale, NSW 2038,
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: The role of prison staff and the role of prison guards in New South Wales, Australia in the last 20 years has been affected by several main issues that suggest some lessons for corrections management.
Abstract: Before the mid-1960's the authority of staff was clear and total prison life was regimented. Serious discussion about prisoners' rights did not exist, because no interest was taken in prisoners beyond meeting their basic physical needs. Gradual but radical change began with the 1968 appointment of Walter McGeechan as commissioner. McGeechan focused on rehabilitating prisoners and introduced programs like work release, day leave, psychological services, skill-based industries, and broader educational programs. However, prison officers did not change their attitudes. The resulting gap between prisoners' expectations and staff attitudes produced major inmate unrest. Inmates' burning of a prison in 1974 produced an investigation and led to further radical change. Physical conditions improved, and inmate programs expanded. However, the role of prison guards remained poorly defined, and staff remained disillusioned. Thus, over the past 20 years the prisoner's status has been redefined, but the role of prison officers has not undergone a parallel development. This situation has persisted even with the focus on alternatives to imprisonment in recent years. Prison management would probably be much less difficult than it now is if development of a new management model had accompanied the changes in prisoners' rights. Such a model is now needed. It should clearly outline the interaction between staff and inmates and should describe the mode of interaction, preferably the use of unit management principles.
Main Term(s): Corrections management
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Inmate staff relations; New South Wales
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