U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

LEAA National Workshop for State Planning Agency Court Specialists - Initiating the Planning Process - The Systems Approach to Court Planning

NCJ Number
Date Published
0 pages
Theoretical approaches to State criminal justice planning are addressed by three speakers: Henry Ruth, Director of Criminal Justice Resources at the Urban Institute; Dr. Charles Edelstein, Director of the Judicial Administration Program at the University of Southern California; and Dr. Frederic Jervis, President of the Center for Constructive Change.
Ruth sees a major obstacle to effective criminal justice administration in the proliferation of bureaucratic functions that divert attention and resources from the ultimate goal -- crime control. He advises against project-by-project planning because planners are the only functionaries in the system whose job permits an overview of the whole. They should function as a link between theoreticians who demand change and the practical implementers in the system. Those in a State planning agency should recognize that resources will continue to remain limited and guide the efforts of everyone else in the system to focus on crime control. Edelstein contrasts the incremental and global models of rational, goal-oriented planning with intuitive planning that takes place without precise goals. In essence, rational planning models look at what exists now to make projections of the future; they require systematic data collection and analysis. The incomplete and therefore biased nature of all data is pointed out, as is the subjectivity of deciding on a cutoff point for the gathering process; the power of possessing data is emphasized. Given the complexity and conflicting nature of criminal justice goals, Edelstein urges that planners aim for comprehensive planning through bilateral and multilateral consensus building both vertically and horizontally throughout the system. Jervis advocates an alternative planning process in which desired results are identified and new strategies devised for achieving them. He says other efforts at institutional reform are structured to fail because they attach significance to methods and strategies rather than to goals and outcomes. Identifying the goal reveals the discrepancy between what is and what could be. To fill that gap, new strategies and approaches can emerge, be tested, and pursued. In a session on the following day, Jervis philosophizes on the nature of Western society in general, and its dependence on specialization which obscures the larger context.


No download available