This paper explains the theory of total quality management (TQM) and provides guidance on how to use TQM and its tools in the correctional organization.
TQM involves interlocking assumptions about quality, people, organizations, and process. In the public sector, TQM involves all that an organization, a society, or a community does that determines its reputation. TQM is a total system of quality improvement that bases decisionmaking on factual data, not opinion or impression. It embraces all that an organization does to achieve continuing performance improvement, and it encompasses all of the organization's employees and their functions. When applied to corrections organizations, TQM involves working with suppliers, elected officials, taxpayers, staff, and inmates to ensure that work processes are related to the goals that define success. Further, it requires continuous assessment of employee work processes in order to improve performance and reduce variations. It also involves regular communication with customers in an effort to identify and understand what they want and how they define quality. The implementation of TQM in a correctional organization requires leadership that will develop and publish clear organizational beliefs and objectives, develop proven strategies and plans for achieving the objectives, identify activities whose effective performance is critical to achieving objectives, review the management structure, empower the staff, develop performance standards, train employees in the principles of TQM, mount organization-wide improvements, and measure performance. This paper includes outlines of how the U.S. States of Florida, Iowa, and Ohio have implemented TQM in corrections. 5 references