Leading Group Challenges

* Police, courts and corrections are part of criminal justice organizations. Each of these organizations face challenges every day and the leaders of these agencies must deal with these challenges (Duelin, 2010). The types of criminal justice leaders range from police chiefs and sheriffs to prison superintendents, and heads of government, state, or local task forces. Some of the challenges they confront are budget and staffing shortfalls, political perspectives on the roles of law enforcement personnel in society, and the changing nature of crime and the difficulties associated with keeping up with these trends (Bryant, 2010).

Funding for law enforcement agencies are dependent on state and local funding for their operations. Budget cuts trigger staffing reductions for criminal justice managers. Personnel reduction makes it hard for officers to train for response to volatile public safety threats. These budget cuts also influence decisions on how to deal with offenders. Budget cuts over time can force the criminal justice system to spend less money on probation and parole supervision that help to keep prison populations lower.

These same budget cuts can result in staff reduction in prisons, the closing of prisons, and the release of prisoners early to lower prison population (Bryant, 2010). * Officer safety and moral can be affected with the reduction of staff and budget cuts. Officers would have to work longer hours and do more to uphold public safety. The strain of doing more with less under dangerous conditions with potential community resentment can cause stress and lower morale. If these issues go unaddressed, the stress on the officers can cause problems that could have negative perspectives on law enforcement (Bryant, 2010). The changing nature of crime is hard to keep up with.

Internet-based or cyber-crime is a challenge for law enforcement agencies, from the local police departments to the FBI. There are two major hurdles to fighting cyber-crime. One is jurisdictional issues especially if the activity involves several remote locations and the other is the identification of the perpetrators. Another issue is the ability to keep up with and acquire the latest information technology tools (Bryant, 2010).

Liberal and conservative politicians at the national level are trying to limit the amount of leeway law enforcement personnel have to investigate potential illegal activity. Many laws are vaguely worded or are frivolous and give crime investigating personnel too much latitude to investigate. Politicians are calling for laws to be interpreted more narrowly. These attitudes could politicize law enforcement policies and procedures. This could make the investigation or prosecution of crimes more difficult for criminal justice professionals (Bryant, 2010). * Legal and political challenges are dealt with by criminal justice organizations.

These pressures occur within as well as outside the systems. Management, police officers, courts and corrections are affected by changes in the law. There are a number of changes to the top of a criminal justice organization during an election year. Leaders must stay aware of changes in the law and be aware of political alliances (Duelin, 2010). * Criminal justice agencies do not always have the same goals and conflicts can arise within the agencies. Police seek to arrest criminals and have them punished for the crimes whereas the courts seek to rehabilitate them.

The differences of how a criminal should be treated can cause conflicts within the agencies. There is a substantial amount of power with the responsibility of the police, courts, and prisons. Leadership for these criminal justice agencies must balance this power with fairness (Duelin, 2010). * Communication issues are also a challenge for criminal justice agencies. There are two communication barriers one is individual and the other is organizational. Individual communication issues are that a person’s own interpretation of a message may not be what is meant.

An organization’s culture can be a barrier in communicating with another organization. The court system, police and corrections have different jargon that is used within their culture. This sometimes makes communication difficult between the organizations as well as with the public. To handle these challenges a leader must be an affective communicator (Duelin, 2010). * Many of the challenges faced within the prison system are the same as those that are faced within other criminal justice organizations but there are some that are different challenges. Some of the same are workforce challenges.

Recruitment, hiring, retention, training, and succession planning are a few of those workforce challenges. Budgets have an impact on these challenges. Technology is also a challenge. Keeping up with the latest technology can be very challenging. There is always a need for management information systems, fingerprint systems, enhanced security systems, and communication systems. Challenges that are met by managers of a prison system that are not met by other criminal justice systems are medical care, mental health, facilities, re-entry, special needs inmates, and strategic threat groups (Stinchcomb & McCampbell, 2008).

Medical care and mental health challenges for the prison system are challenges for the staff as well as the inmate. Making sure that the funding is there for treatment of the inmates can be a nightmare for the leader of a prison system. Inmates are in need of some type of medical attention at all times whether it is disease-related or physical attack related. Mental health facilities or treatment must be made available to inmates. Finding room and places for special needs inmates can be a problem (Stinchcomb & McCampbell, 2008).

Keeping prison facilities up to-date with the latest technology can be a challenge to management. Older facilities are operating with less than adequate technology especially communications. Facilities are always in fear of closer because of budget cuts and then finding a place for the inmates if the facility should close is an issue. This can cause overcrowding within the prison system, another challenge that is faced (Stinchcomb & McCampbell, 2008). * Of course one of the biggest challenges facing prison leaders is the strategic threat groups or gangs.

These gangs or groups want to run the prisons and are a threat to other prisoners as well as staff. The manager of a prison must deal with how to keep these groups separated and how to keep them from threatening the other inmates that do not want to be part of the group (Stinchcomb & McCampbell, 2008). * There are many challenges faced by the leaders of the courts of law. The major challenge has been achieving fairness when passing judgments. Human rights activists have questioned increasingly the competence of judges and magistrates when handling cases public concern.

There have been accusations that magistrates and judges have been influenced by key or prominent individuals like politicians while performing their duties (Miller, 2010). * Another challenge of criminal justice organizations and especially the courts is growing concern on how they handle cases related to terrorism. The influence of some powerful individuals in government the magistrates and judges have been viewed to be ineffective and inefficient in solving cases related to terrorism. There are accusations of discrimination and that because of certain religious affiliation that there are links to terrorism that is not entirely true.

The existing structures that deal with terrorism cause this confusion and the regulations need to be reviewed (Miller, 2010). * One other challenge is the matter transforming juvenile offenders from further participation in breaking the law. Juveniles between 13 and 17 years have been engaged in questionable activities that may lead them to becoming professional criminals in the future. The courts of law have the responsibility to come up with better and acceptable modes of punishing these juveniles in the public.

The courts either are condemned for not holding a juvenile offender long enough for a crime or holding them too long or as adults for the crimes committed (Miller, 2010). * The future still holds many challenges for the criminal justice system leaders. Unless funding becomes more readily available for criminal justice organizations they will face the challenges of technology not being the newest available. Technology is becoming more advanced and it takes funding to purchase the newest equipment and to train employees on this equipment.

Future lack of funding will also cause challenges in staffing. If the incentive is not there to go into the criminal justice field there will be fewer applications. Cutbacks in departments will mean layoffs and lack of funding for training will mean less educated employees. Overwork and underpay mean low moral which will cause conflict inside and outside of the organization. Correctional facilities closing due to lack of funding will mean overcrowding of some prisons and the early release of prisoners that should remain locked up.

Challenges of funding, staffing, training, and changing of the laws are just a few being faced today and in the future. Criminal justice organizations and leaders must work together to get the funding needed to fight crime, convict criminals and house them after their convictions. Training must be made available for a better criminal justice system. In order for the challenges in the criminal justice system to be overcome all agencies must work together with local, state, and federal governments.