These lively and stimulating ideas for use in and out of class reinforce active learning. The activities apply to individual or group projects.
Correctional Management Scenario
In this activity, students will apply one of the three management techniques described in the text to an ongoing inmate situation that shows all signs of precipitating a riot.
The prison is a medium-security facility housing inmates with an average sentence of 10–15 years. Approximately 35% have a history of violent crimes. The facility is patrolled externally by armed perimeter guards who walk along the razor wired fence or sit in the towers overlooking the yard while others drive armored vehicles around the exterior to deter escape. Inside the prison, correctional officers use a mix of intimidation and inmate-balance techniques to manage the inmate population. Recently, the inmates have had their recreational privileges limited because of recurrent fighting between A block and C block inmates.
On a Tuesday afternoon, several inmates in A block began acting suspiciously and tensions between correctional officers and inmates were high. Also, many asked for additional rolls of toilet paper and complained that their commissary orders were incorrect, seven filed requests to see the medical personnel, and correctional officers found contraband (including two shanks) in the random search performed the day before. Further, 2 months ago, two correctional officers were placed on administrative leave for bringing in contraband food and drugs.
Working independently or in groups, instruct students to devise a plan for correctional management to address the current situation in the prison. Drawing on the material presented in the text, which management strategy (or strategies) should be the basis for the plan: authoritarian, bureaucratic, or participative? Provide a five-point response plan for addressing the scenario described above to reduce tensions and ameliorate risk. Offer support for each choice in management strategy by referencing material presented in the text. Students will share their plans with the class to facilitate discussion.
Diversity in the Correctional Workforce
This in-class writing activity serves to prompt discussion on the topic of diversity among the correctional workforce. Have students review the following statistics from the Bureau of Prisons (BOP):
Take 2-min for students to write responses to the following prompts:
- What questions do you have about the statistics?
- What about these data are challenging, frustrating, or intriguing?
- What are three challenges you could imagine the demographic distribution of inmates and correctional staff could pose to successful inmate management?
- How could the BOP and other corrections agencies improve diversity in their workforce?