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The Evolution of Decisionmaking Among Prison Executives, 1975-2000

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2000
48 pages
This chapter examines the changes that have occurred in the evolution of decision making among prison executives since 1975 and considers the implications of these changes for the administration of prisons and prison systems.
The author examines what new activities and topics must be addressed by correctional officials today, as well as how prisoners and staff have changed over the past two-and-a-half decades. The chapter explores how technology and the use of information have altered prison administration and to what extent changes in free-world management practices have spilled over into prison administration. The author examines the issues faced by senior-level prison officials, who are responsible for running prison systems (i.e., commissioners, directors, and secretaries of corrections) and institutions (i.e., wardens and superintendents). The author focuses on the administration of public prisons, although the author describes how privatization has influenced the administration of these publicly run facilities. To set the stage, the chapter describes prisons in 1975 and explores the major events that have influenced prison structure and operations since then. From this basis, the author discusses the politicization of prison administration, interorganizational relations, changes in both prisoners and staff, the use of information, and the influence of technology. The chapter's ultimate goal is to provide the necessary groundwork to consider what is needed to operate prisons well, what issues administrators must be prepared to address, and what characteristics senior-level executives need. 4 notes and 40 references

Date Published: January 1, 2000