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Correctional Administration

Prisons as Unique Institutions

 They are a bureaucracy (see chart in book)

 Rule bound (standards of conduct), hierarchical, standardized…
 Assume rules are correct and follow them religiously
 However, they are unique
 Don’t get to select clients

 Have little control over release of clients

 Clients are there against their will

 Clients do most of their work in the institution

 Chaotic, sometimes volatile environment

Given the constraints…how best to run a prison?

 The Old Penology (PN/Auburn debates)

 The Autocrat/Dictator model (1800s-1950s)
 Joseph E. Ragen (Stateville prison in IL)
 Substituted “his way” for the typical politics of the time
 James B Jacobs, Stateville (1977)
 Complete control over every detail—enforced by brutal physical
punishment –during Irwin’s “big house” era
 The Sociology Era (1950s-1980s)
 No interest in “controlling” inmates
 Interests = inmate subculture, guard attitudes and cultures…
 ASSUME wardens can do little to control inmates without help
from the inmate social system
John DiIulio Governing Prisons (1987)

 DiIulio = a rather conservative political scientist

 “…officials responsible for prison policy have been the
slave of some defunct sociologist.”
 “Management” viewed as disruptive to inmate social system
 Book summarized a comparative study of 3 states
 Texas “control model”
 California “consensual model”
 Michigan “responsibility model”
Governing Prisons II

 How best to measure effective management, or a

“good” prison?
 Order
 Amenity
 Service
 The “Confinement Model”  now used in much of the
prison literature
Governing Prisons III

 Concludes that TX control model is superior

 Homicide rate in TX system is 1/8 of CA system
 Violence/disturbances rare in TX system
 Programming better (less volatility)

 Reasons to be skeptical
 Context of his study (CA and MI in late 1970s, early 1980s)

 The “Exceptional Manager” theory

 The building tender system

 CO Abuse/Violence
Management/Leadership Styles

 Authoritarian
 Joseph Ragen

 George Beto (idiosyncratic)

 Laissez-faire
 Democratic/Participatory
Unit Management

 Now the “rage” for running prisons

 Architecture x Direct Supervision model
 Not one chain of command for the entire 1000 inmates

 Manageable units (pods)

 Almost everything self-contained
 Custody/treatment division is lessened (team)
 New career ladders
 Free up warden to do “big picture” things

 Pre-1980s = little could be done

 Prisons as corrupting, inmate culture will override

 1990s and beyond


 Debates
 What sort of management works best?
 How do we evaluate prison management?