Every correctional administration seeks to look into ways of effectively managing the institutions which deal with transformation of criminals. Correctional institutions are sensitive areas because they are mandated to restore sanity in convicted criminals some of whom are hardcore and capable of heinous acts. When I am appointed as an associate warden it means working under a warden and most of the work will be leveled on my shoulders. The work is further made demanding since I will have to properly accommodate the middle level managers and worse still seek ways to handle inmate groups. In this case, an associate warden posted here is expected to change wheels of control that have ineffectively run for forty years to raise the staff’s morale and to effectively work hand in hand with middle level managers. Such a description requires massive knowledge and expertise in administration.
As an associate warden in such a place, it is imperative that I try my best to make changes to both the place and system. I must start by developing a close working relationship with the warden. I will enhance a democratic leadership by doing so since it is definite that autocracy brings with it conflicts of interest especially in the critical areas of administration. There is also a need to ensure that the turnover of line staff is controlled for competence. The working conditions should be revamped and made comfortable for them so as to improve their morale. Having proper communication networks and both a streamlined and open protocol devoid of bureaucratic red tape will go a long way in fostering efficiency. Similarly, there is an inherent need to give the middle level managers autonomy to participate in decision making.
These changes are necessary for the proper running of the facility but then it is well understood that not everyone easily envisions change. This means making changes is quite a demanding task and there are several risks involved. One of the impediments is lack of goodwill from top administration since reforms will look like am trying to eclipse their powers and authority.
Furthermore, there is a risk of misunderstanding the middle level managers. For instance, they can make some decisions which may not be readily accepted. Making them to understand reasons behind your disapproval may be tricky. Worse of all is when the changes will have to trickle down to the inmates. Some of the inmate groups may be for them and others against. If this is not well contained, it can bring about a great conflict. To gain the approval of the warden, it is necessary to create a rapport between through proper communication whereby we sit down and look at the issues affecting the facility in order to take a common position on the way forward. It would be important for him to fully participate in the decisions that we are going to make so that he considers himself part of the change process.
The expected change includes developing a structured but fluid leadership from above that is free of administrative bottlenecks. It must be democratic if it encourages participation in decision making by all the managers and administrators. There is a need to check on the productivity of staff by assigning them according to their specialties and experience. Middle level managers need to be must be made more responsible in the running of the facility by encouraging having them make decisions which are then discussed in a round table. Above all it is important to open up communication channel among the administrators and managers which should then spill over to the level of the inmates. The communication channels must be made open and less formal. This can be achieved me working closely with all the stakeholders and by integrating all the systems and departments to work together in synergy.
This will enhance understanding and proper conflict resolutions between inmate groups. There will also be a well established communication channel that accommodates the middle level managers. Their contributive ideas are to be brought forward and discussed with the top leadership for proper consensus and implementation of the plausible ones. With these changes, it will be possible to crack the forty year spell of improper administration and inefficiency as well as putting up a versatile administrative system.