1. How would you respond? Would you just capitulate and end some or all of these programs? Explain your answer.
I would first respond to the Governor by telling him that I felt it was ill advised to follow through with what he wanted me to. I would explain to him that with new generation jails, everyone is happier. I would go into as much detail as I could about the new generation jails and indicate that the traditional hands off philosophy and hardcore jail treatment in prison and jail was currently frowned upon. I would do whatever I could to ensure that the majority of my programs offered in the jails remained open, with the hope that 100% of the programs would still be available after my 1-month time frame were up.
2. Is there any room to negotiate with the governor? As a trade-off, would you offer to put in place some programs that are known to be tough on inmates? If so, what kind?
I feel that in this instance there is little room to negotiate. From the letter that I received from the new Governor, it sounds as though he has his mind set on what he wants to happen with the prisons and he has ordered it to take place; however, I would attempt to negotiate with him by advising him that we could be stricter on inmates who break rules. This could be done by taking away privileges or basic day-to-day conveniences. The prison staff could discipline the inmates by not allowing them to work for a certain amount of time so that they aren’t able to earn money for their books, they could take away time that they might have spent in the yard getting fresh air for a few days, and they could also place individual inmates into solitary confinement for certain period of time when rules are violated. I would explain to the Governor that we would need to remain cautious as to
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not result to cruel and unusual punishments or give the impression of any either; that we are required to keep the inmates civil rights in mind when reprimanding them.
3. Before dismantling your policies and programs, would you attempt to see how much internal and external support you have for them? If yes, whom would you contact and how?
I would rack up as much support as possible in this situation, to ensure that my programs remained available. I would first start with my own staff and utilize their opinions on daily operations and functions and then those of the inmates. I would then go to upper management and attempt to gain their support in the way things were being run. Lastly, I would contact the public and ask for assistance in proving to the Governor why our current system works and if it’s not broken, we should not be attempting to fix it. These opinions and individual’s suggestions would be gathered by conducting surveys and requesting conferences and meetings with the public and staff.
4. How might you go about demonstrating how successful your policies have been?
I would provide the governor with several fiscal year reports on what we have been doing and show him where things have improved and by how much. I would use the drop in our recidivism rates as a starting point and then from there go on to advise how the public is beginning to accept our policies as well as staff members. I would try to tell the Governor, as respectfully as possible, that while his suggestion is being considered, he does not have the experience to be making such a drastic call to the halt of such programs. I would ask for more time to show the Governor exactly what and why we are providing the programs that we are and if at the end of whatever extension might be granted advise the Governor that if he still requires us to shut things down, I would fight it in any way I could. I would also advise that the staff is on board with all programs we offered. I would advise of the national attention that we had been receiving for all the right reasons and request a more detailed explanation as to why he wanted
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the programs shut down if it was showing that they were working.