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Case Study In A Correctional Facility

2467 words - 10 pages

This case study focuses on a scenario describing the experience of Leon Smith, a fictional rookie correctional officer (CO) in a large jail in a Midwestern industrial city. Smith observed that the inmates in the jail were always talking about their criminal successes, and that many of them seemed eager (in a surreptitious way) to share intelligence information with CO’s. Rookie Smith was excited by the possibility of collecting intelligence in the jail and passing this on to law enforcement. Smith had ambitions of one day working in homicide investigations, and thought that sharing intelligence from the jail would both further his ambition, as well as a noble goal of helping law enforcement apprehend criminals and perhaps even terrorists. Smith became disillusioned, however, as he began to observe that his fellow COs were well aware of the ready availability of the information, but were not interested in much of what occurred outside of their immediate work sphere. In fact, they seemed more interested in their own particular shift or what went on inside of the jail. Smith learned more about his peers when speaking with his Shift Sergeant Griswold, who expressed the point of view that all inmates are liars. Griswold also stated that CO’s are not cops and that law enforcement would not want to hear from them, even if it was useful information. Griswold stressed this point by saying his Lieutenant would say the same thing if he brought intelligence to him. This scenario provides examples of barriers to communication, the strength of informal organizational socialization, a possible good application of linking pins to share information across work units, and opportunity to improve communication . Each will be discussed below.
This scenario illustrates several of the eight barriers to communication described by Stojkovic et al (2008). Specifically, preconceived ideas, denial of contrary information, lack of motivation, lack of communication skills, and a poor organizational climate are illustrated in this scenario (Stojkovic et al, 2008, p. 85). Shift Sergeant Griswold provides an example of preconceived ideas and denial of contrary information as barriers to communication. He states that all inmates are liars, painting all inmates with a stereotype of distrust. Griswold also tells Smith that COs are considered inferior to law enforcement officers in the criminal justice system, and that “cops” would laugh at them for trying to share information. Secondly, even when Rookie CO Smith shares the possibility of attaining useful information for law enforcement, Griswold denies the contrary information. His belief that all inmates are liars, and that all “cops” would not want to hear the informations, blinds him to the possibility that the information could actually be useful to law enforcement.
This scenario depicts the jail as having a poor organizational climate, fraught with distrust of the inmates, and since it...

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