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Transitioning Staff Training to the 21st Century -- Moving From Inmate Instructors and Court Orders to the Interactive Internet and Cyberspace

NCJ Number
American Jails Volume: 13 Issue: 2 Dated: May/June 1999 Pages: 9-20
Jeanne B. Stinchcomb Ph.D.; Susan W. McCampbell
Date Published
8 pages
This article provides guidance for jail administrators as they plan to address both immediate and long-term training needs of jail staff into the 21st century.
The entire concept of visionary planning to meet future needs depends on anticipating challenges and proactively preparing for them. Planning to address training needs has traditionally taken the form of job task analysis (JTA), the process of describing specific dimensions of a job and determining what knowledge, skills, and abilities are needed to effectively complete the work involved. Although a training curriculum based on JTA is preferable to one that does not clearly address job-related needs of participants, JTA has certain limitations in terms of forecasting future training demands. The main limitation is that JTA describes only what a job currently involved and does not project future demands. An alternative option is to analyze agency-generated records for indications of training needs. Inmate grievances, lawsuits, use of force incidents, and staff complaints are just a few of the many sources that can be used to identify training deficiencies through document analysis. When collecting and analyzing such materials, however, it is important to distinguish between training needs and management challenges. Another way of identifying future training needs is to extrapolate from current trends that are shaping correctional practices in general and jails in particular. Learning technologies can be used to facilitate training and include computer-based learning modules, distance learning, and technological interface. As jails begin to embrace the technological revolution, keyboarding and information processing skills may become as critical as the ability to conduct searches and identify contraband. 2 endnotes and 3 figures