Successful decisions are based on careful planning and analysis of all variables. Planning meetings are a common occurrence in almost any group, as well as in criminal justice environments. Tactical decision making involves the actions or means of less magnitude or that involve actions and objects that are a short distance from the base of operations, as opposed to those of strategy (Gelsthorpe, Padfield 2003). It is much more time compressed in its goals than strategic decision making.
Group support systems, such as meeting room environments, focus heavily on supporting the strategic decision making of an organization. Many decisions are made by police officers from a certain number of factors they have considered. The reality of the situation is that there may in fact be many more factors unknown to them that they should have considered. In this situation, ethics becomes a core of their decision making process aimed to protect victims from unfavorable or negative impact.
In hierarchically structured teams where final decision authority is retained by a single individual, the team functions to provide the decision maker with assessments and information that are crucial to the situation. “The decision to arrest” is one of the typical examples of police decision making. Unsuccessful decisions are caused by racial bias and racial profiling. Recent trends and statistical results unveil that police measures result in violation of human rights through police misconduct towards minority groups.
In October of 1997, police stopped a black and held him for more than an hour. Policeman explained that the driver is suspected in stolen a car, but “this story was false. The black driver was driving a new Jeep Grand Cherokee. The stolen vehicle was a Honda” (Cockburn, Clair, 1999). This episode vividly depicts that the enslaved African became a 'citizen' as stated under the law, but he also became a 'nigger', cornered from all sides. This decision was determined by officers' whims, stereotypes, and cultural attitudes.
This legal power was used in a discriminatory way to stop and search young, typically male, Afro-Caribbeans in the streets of Brixton and other south London areas with a high incidence of street robberies and illicit drug taking. Numerous examples of successful decision making can be found in probation justice system. “Because the juvenile justice system consists of multiple decision points, it is essential that researchers track cases from arrest to final disposition through as many stages as possible” (Bishop, Frazier 1996 292).
Caseload-free supervision was a successful decision taken by San Bernardino probation department. “Each two-person team is assigned to other probation officers, units or programs. They receive referrals from those officers to contact problem probationers or investigate potential probation violations” (Diament, 2002). This decision making was a risky one but it helped to improve supervision and reduce work overload for probation officers. The reason for good performance was coordination of group’s efforts and planning process which helped to reduce pitfalls and mistakes.
Mechanically, support systems vary along two dimensions: time and place. They support group processes that occur at the same time and place or at different time or place. In the case of poor decision making, police made decisions according to racial criteria.
1. Bessette, J. M. In Pursuit of Criminal Justice. Public Interest, No. 129, Fall 1997, p. 61. 2. Bishop, D. M. , Frazier, Ch. E. (1996). Race Effects in Juvenile Justice Decision-Making: Findings of a Statewide Analysis. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 86 (2), 392-414. 3.
Cockburn, A. , Clair, J. S. (1999). Driving While Black. Retrieved 30 Mar 2007from http://www. counterpunch. org/drivingblack. html 4. Gelsthorpe, L. , Padfield, N. (2003). Exercising Discretion: Decision-Making in the Criminal Justice System and Beyond. Willan Publishing. 5. Diament, J. (October 2002). New Hampshire Raises the Age of Majority in Juvenile/criminal Statutes. Corrections Today, 64 (6), 82, 6. Stinchcomb, J. B. (August 2006). Envisioning the Future: Proactive Leadership through Data-Driven Decision-Making. Corrections Today, 68 (5), 78.