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Organizational Readiness in Corrections

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 75 Issue: 1 Dated: June 2011 Pages: 5-10
Jennifer Lerch M.A.; Jill Viglione M.A.; Ernest Eley M.A.; Susan James-Andrews M.S.; Faye S. Taxman Ph.D.
Date Published
June 2011
6 pages
Using a continuous training model, this article examines the impact of implementing change in a corrections setting on organizational-readiness measurement and staff communication strategies.
The continuous training model includes initial communications training of staff, followed by on-site booster sessions by an expert trainer. The study findings show where the continuous communications training has had the greatest impact as well as where further work is needed. The shift by noncustodial staff to the use of positive communication strategies by the second year follow-up demonstrates how staff can be impacted by change initiative, but the findings also indicate that the change process does not occur overnight. The minimal change in communication strategy found among custodial staff suggests the difficulty of producing change and the investment of time needed to change negative confrontational communication in the custodial environment. More research is required to determine how training models are implemented among mixed groups of staff members in a correctional environment. The setting for this study was the Prison-Based Work Release Center (PWRC) located in an urban area. The PWRC is an all-male facility that typically employs 35 correctional officers and 5 case managers. As part of a larger agency initiative to adopt evidence-based practices, the PWRC has undertaken an organizational change process that focuses on altering the culture and climate of the facility so as to create a prosocial learning environment that best supports the outcome of the offenders serving time at PWRC. As part of this change process, a continuous training model was implemented along with an evaluation of organizational change. An organizational survey was administered at PWRC at three time points: baseline (prior to intensive training sessions), at a 1-year follow-up, and at a 2-year follow-up. 5 figures and 35 references