Organization Type: Probation department
Role within Organization: Chief probation officer
Organizational Scenario: The mission of the Haddonfield County Probation Department’s juvenile division is to “correct the behavior of youths charged with offenses and guide them toward productive adult lives, and an adult division that supervises convicted offenders in their communities in lieu of jail.”
Recently, there was a state realignment program, which made county probation departments the key players in a sweeping statewide effort to reform criminal justice. Under realignment, many ex-inmates who formerly reported to state parole agents are now supervised by county probation officers, who are expected to provide more rehabilitation and reentry support services than before. Budget pressures had recently forced the laying off of a large number of the county’s juvenile division officers. Supervisors and employees within the division have filed complaints with the union due to the excessive workload caused by the realignment and layoffs.
There have been recent allegations and criminal charges against numerous department employees, including improper sexual relations between probation officers and the juveniles they were supervising, staged fights between juveniles at probation camps, the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages on camp premises, and worker’s compensation fraud. The department’s troubles have attracted the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which has begun a serious investigation that could lead to a series of costly mandates for the probation department under a memorandum of agreement.
You, as the chief probation officer, have been hired to get the organization back on track and refocus the department’s efforts to get back to helping juvenile offenders get on the path toward productive adult lives. In order to do that, the department needs to clean up its image and perception. In addition, the department has a budget shortfall impacting the workload of current staff. The working conditions have resulted in growing employee dissatisfaction with the increased workload, which may prompt union intervention into your operations. A long-term solution will need to be developed for hiring new officers, addressing misconduct with current officers (who are under union protection), creating strong
long-term policies that will limit the opportunity for instances of the alleged misconduct, fostering a more ethical and stronger leadership culture for youths to look up to, and addressing the issue of state realignment that may be impacting resources for the entire agency. There may even be an opportunity to raise the standard of the organization by presenting a better image to the public and families of the juveniles being supervised.
Crisis Situation: The DOJ has finished its investigation and, as predicted, has a series of requests in order to rectify the violations it has observed. The main focus of its findings are the allegations of misconduct by probation officers in terms of improper sexual relations, staged fights in probation camps, providing contraband to juveniles, and other criminal behavior.
Because of the severity of the allegations, the new chief probation officer must make some short-term tactical plans to immediately address many of the specific issues. First, the officer must assess whether a memorandum of agreement would help or hurt the organization and defend the position.
The Board of Supervisors in the Haddonfield County Probation Department is divided, with some members looking to fend off an even more costly consent decree, and others seeing such oversight as the only way that the troubled department could break free of a dysfunctional culture. You, as the chief probation officer, should address and lay out steps that need to be taken and provide plans for immediate action and implementation of those steps, focusing on the specific issues addressed in the DOJ mandates. This is in conjunction with the long-term goals and strategies developed in rebuilding the faltering organization.
- a) Briefly summarize the background information needed for understanding the proposal. Describe the current state of the organization and the problems it faces. What are the major needs of the community it serves? What are the fiscal and operational realities at play?
- b) Then, articulate the guiding principles of your strategy. What are the mission and vision of the organization? What are the current goals and objectives? To what extent should these be modified in the longer term to secure the solvency and effectiveness of the organization?
- Financial Strategy
- a) In the near term, how should the organization allocate its financial resources? How should funds be relatively apportioned among the various departments or other line items? Justify your proposed distributions by citing specific evidence that shows how they will support the organization’s current goals and objectives.
- b) Make recommendations regarding how the organization will stay financially solvent while continuing to meet the long-term needs of the community. Justify your recommendations by citing specific evidence that shows how they will support your proposed longer-term goals and
III. Personnel Development Strategy: Outline a strategy for training and developing personnel so that the organization will continually improve in meeting the community’s needs. Specifically, discuss how your recommended personnel development strategy will foster ethically sound and socially responsible decision making on the part of both leadership and staff. Justify your proposal by citing specific evidence showing how it will support the current and long-term goals and objectives of the organization.
- Community Relations Strategy
- a) Explain how the organization will achieve a positive and productive relationship with the public that it serves. For example, how can the organization anticipate and react to social issues that might arise within the community? How can the organization limit its liability while still fully addressing the needs of the public? Justify your response by citing specific evidence that shows how your strategy will support the goals and objectives of the organization.
- b) Additionally, make recommendations for how the organization will maintain appropriate and transparent communication with the diverse members of the community. For example, how will the organization operate on social media? Justify your response by citing specific evidence that shows how your strategy will support the goals and objectives of the organization.
- Implementation: Finally, identify ways for leadership to responsibly implement each of your proposed strategies. Consider potential ethical dilemmas or other challenges that may be faced in executing the strategy and provide specific measures to deal with each.
Guidelines for Submission: Your submission should be about 6 to 8 pages in length and should use 12-point Times New Roman font, double spacing, and one inch margins. Sources should be cited according to APA style.
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