The internal crisis of corrections: Professionalization and the work environment

Nancy Jurik, Michael C. Musheno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Criminal justice policymakers and managers have viewed professionalization as a favored solution to the current crisis in correctional systems across the country. Utilizing case study data drawn from a state correctional system located in the western United States, we find that upgrading line correctional staff was a strategy used by top administrators to improve the image of their agency and maintain the autonomy of their prison system in the face of a threatened take-over by the federal court. However, in mandating the professionalization of their personnel, these managers failed to confront deeper organizational problems. Instead, they argued that an educated staff was the cure for acknowledged operational problems—including corruption and inhumane treatment. The failure to combine staff upgrading with more comprehensive organizational reforms merely heightened the frustrations within the workforce of the state's correctional institutions. In essence, these professionalization strategies represent a prime example of utilizing individual-level solutions to solve organizational-level problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-480
Number of pages24
JournalJustice Quarterly
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1986

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professionalization
work environment
staff
Criminal Law
Frustration
correctional institution
Prisons
Administrative Personnel
manager
frustration
corruption
personnel
autonomy
justice
reform
Therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

Cite this

The internal crisis of corrections : Professionalization and the work environment. / Jurik, Nancy; Musheno, Michael C.

In: Justice Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 4, 1986, p. 457-480.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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