Project Management Education and Training process for career Development
Project management education and training processes for career development plays a critical role in enhancing the competency levels for correctional officers. In addition, project management education and training processes for career development enhances the quality of service and ability to cope with a stressful and complex work environment. Three have been conflicting perspectives on the impact of career development strategies for correctional organizations.
While some researchers argue that career development enhances competence, job satisfaction and reduces employee turn over rates, the critics of this strategy suggest that given the level of authority and bureaucracy in correctional facilities, it may not be possible to achieve the desired objectives for career development. The critics point out the inability of correctional organizations to attract talent as one of the factors that dampen career development programs. There is a growing public concern that given the poor reputation of the correctional jobs, it may not be possible to launch effective career development strategies.
However, due to the increased complexity of the correctional jobs, it has become necessary for organizations to improve project management education and training processes for career development to enhance the quality of service. This includes reviewing the training curriculum, incorporating new ideas in the
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This paper critically examines how project Management Education and training processes for career Development in a correctional organizational can be improved. In addition, the paper gives a critical overview of the typical work environment for correctional officers, their qualifications and the general trends. The paper proposes a set of solutions for improving training and career development in correctional facilities. Literature review The job of a corrective officer Correctional officers have a huge responsibility in the provision of security, supervising inmates and supporting the rehabilitation of offenders.
More importantly, correctional officers are critical in the motivation of prisoners, a key element in the rehabilitation processes (Parker, 2004). As such, correctional officers form an essential component in any society. Given the central role that correctional officers play in correctional facilities and prisoner environments, it is imperative that the officers require adequate education, training and career development to effectively carry out the complex duties assigned to them (Finn, 2007).
Evidently, prison officers must have personal and interpersonal skills to establish good working relationships with fellow officers as well as the inmates. The officers must be able to balance between the application of authority conferred to them by the law and providing emotional support and supervision for rehabilitation purposes. Correctional officers must be able to make quick decisions in a highly unpredictable environment. Although the tasks of prison officers may vary with rank and the type of facility assigned, it is notable that there are general skills and competencies that all prison officers must poses.
Given the complexity of the duties of a prison officer, it is prudent to examine the typical work activities for a prison officer. Typical work environment for correctional officers A typical work environment for correctional officers involves a set of routine and occasional duties and responsibilities. Some of these duties include carrying out security checks and screening procedures, supervising prisoners, overseeing visits by relatives and involvement in patrol duties. In addition, prison officers provide advice and counseling to prisoners within the correctional facilities and in other places of work as well as at their homes.
More over, prison officers provide the physical control and authority where it is deemed necessary. Protecting the prisoner welfare and property is a critical duty of correctional officers, while collaboration with other government professionals and local authority agencies is an important role. In addition to these duties, senior officers have other responsibilities which require managerial and administrative skills and competencies. Given these demanding duties and responsibilities, it is evident that prison officers must have adequate skills to perform the other duties effectively.
Generally, governments have put in place guidelines that stipulate the requirements of prison officers. Educational training requirements for correctional officers For a person to qualify as a prison officer, they must meet certain requirements depending on the jurisdiction. These requirements are enacted to enhance performance in a sensitive job and avoid recruiting trainees who would otherwise sabotage the service. For one to qualify as a prison officer, they must meet minimum academic qualifications which differ from jurisdiction to the other.
In addition, such persons must pass certain tests including medical, physical and behavioral screening. Interested individuals must go through the recruitment process for medical check up, physical examination and psychological evaluation (Grossi and Vito 2006). However, disabled persons interested in the corrective job are also considered under special arrangement for affirmative action. The same applies for women and minority groups. In addition, individuals must meet other conditions pertaining to nationality, immigration and economic status.
For instance in most jurisdictions, an individual must be a national for that jurisdiction and clear of any bankruptcy cases. The same individuals must not be members of any groups known to have biased opinions on race, religion or any other discriminatory criteria like outlawed groups. Training needs The training for prison officers reflects the huge responsibility exercised in correctional and rehabilitative processes. The first things that prison officers are taught is a general orientation of the corrective service and the general expectations for the officers.
The officers are also taught essential skills, challenges and opportunities. Secondly, the officers are trained on how to handle prisoners and relate with inmates, colleagues and supervisors. Some of the essential skills that officers learn include making personal self control and restraint, security operations and court procedures among others. The training program for prison officers includes a supervised practice involving experienced officers. Moreover, officers are also required to undergo refresher courses, occasional physical and medical examination and medical check up.
Career development Prison officer’s career development is a complex issue that depends on the jurisdiction in question. The opportunities for promotion are well elaborated in the prison procedures. More importantly, career development in the prison service is a well structured process. In addition, there are other specialist positions in which a meticulous testing must be done. In addition to the specialist officers, there are positions for managerial and administrative duties. For most of these positions, qualification is based on experience and education and training level.
However, it is notable that all prison officers irrespective of their special ranks, responsibilities and duties remain to be prison officers. As such they under go the same training although this training may vary from rank to rank and depending on the special responsibilities. The improving the working environment The working environment for correctional officers is complex and dangerous. This is based on the nature of the work which involves supervising prisoners and ensuring order in a complex work environment. The work of prison officers usually involves a rotational rooster where officers relieve their colleagues.
On the other hand, the correctional officers’ work is also risky and threatening to the identity of the officers. The precise definition of the correctional officers typical work responsibilities differs with the correctional facility the officer is assigned. For those in minimum prisons, the duties may include supervising prisoners in community service, those on probation or parole. In addition, prison officers in minimum prisons are also involved in taking care of the prisoners, escorting them to health facilities and supervising visits by relatives.
In maximum security institutions, the correctional officers have responsibilities pertaining to provision of security, search for contrabands and weapons as well as rapid response tactics. While these duties and responsibilities are a critical requirement, a correctional officer must posses other skills pertaining to communication skills, restraint and personal control. Temperament and professional ethics also come in handy for correctional officers. Improving career development for correctional officers
Given the complexity of the duties and responsibilities of correctional officers, it s imperative that proper training and career development is critical aspect of human resource management. On the other hand, the changing trends in criminology require a correctional officer with the right skills and competencies. There seems to be changing trend on the public perceptions on the duties and responsibilities of correctional officers with most people admitting their view of correctional officers is negative.
However, law enforcement is a critical aspect of the justice system that requires competent officers to provide security and supervision to the prisoners and other offenders. In this regard, professionalism has been established as one of the essential challenges in correctional facilities. Researchers have examined the correctional officers changing work environment, human resource issues and organizational aspects so as to give explanations on how this affects the career development.
One of the challenges bedeviling the correctional facilitates globally is lack of professionalism. Researchers have established between poor educational and training standards and lack of professionalism. With the increasing public awareness on ethical issues and prisoner rights, it is also notable that career development for correctional officers must reflect this changing trend. This can be done by training the correctional officer on the application of the law, respect for human rights and putting into consideration of ethical issues pertaining to the handling of the prisoners.
Ideally, entrenching professionalism and modern perspectives on ethical issues requires a good selection and hiring criteria and an effective curriculum that meets the requirements of the force. However, extensive research has established conflicting perspectives on the concept of career development for correctional officers (McLean et al, 2004). On the other hand, the organizational structure and values are also a contributing factor. Critics of the correctional system argue that the management and leadership of correctional facilities undermine efficiency and professionalism.
In this regard there have been calls for prison reforms with emphasis on education, training, professionalism, human rights and professional ethics. Reforms in the correctional facilities must focus on creating a humane environment for the rehabilitation of prisoners and other offenders. It is therefore evident humanitarian reforms are essential not only as a way for matching changing public expectations but also to contribute positively in the rehabilitation of the prisoners. There is increasing focus over the ability of correctional organizations meeting the changing demands for professional and competent correctional officers.
Critics argue that most of the organizational challenges are occasioned by the inability by the relevant institutions to develop and implement a personal development program which is a major challenge in most correctional facilities. In this regard, professional development for career development must be designed in a way that meets departmental needs within the correctional facilities. There is need to equip correctional officers with skills and technical competencies to meet the changing roles and responsibilities.
Some of the personnel related areas that need to be addressed include legal issues where the officers must be able to adhere to ethical and legal requirements. Secondly, correctional officers need sophisticated reporting skills to perform their duties effectively. This means that training and career development must focus on enhancing reporting procedures among other technical skills. In addition to these technical skills, professional correctional officers need to have adequate communication and interpersonal skills. Training needs for correctional officers
As the demand for training correctional officers increases, one that has become evident is developing skills essential in handling of the complex work environment. Supervision for correctional officers is a very critical aspect of this training especially within the correctional institutions (Dollard, 2008). This includes supervision for a growing population of prisoners with diverse cultural background. In addition, the correctional officers must have adequate skills for supervising co- workers. One of the ways for preparing officers for supervisory roles is trough training program that enhances key skills and responsibilities.
Evidently, pre-service training does not address the demanding roles and responsibilities for correctional officer supervisor. It is therefore imperative that an in-service training project must be focused on improving professionalism, communication, interpersonal skills and managerial skills. More importantly, organizations must emphasize on improving leadership and leadership skills for correctional supervisors to enhance service delivery and accomplish the missions and objectives if the correctional organizations. Improving project management education and training for career development is a critical aspect of this in-service project.
There are reported cases for correctional officer’s brutality against prisoners leading to public out cry over the need to treat inmates with humane considerations and respect for human rights. On the other hand, there have been increases in the number of violent incidences within correctional facilities often involving co-inmate and sometimes scuffles by inmates to escape custody. Notably, the increase in awareness over the issues of affirmative action has also impacted on the nature of training to be implemented in in-service and recruitment training.
There have has been a tremendous increase in the number of allegations of human rights violations for some groups of inmates including juveniles, women and the disabled. It is therefore expected that career development strategies must address this issue by incorporating human rights issues in the training curricula. However, the challenge has been for the correctional institutions to implement such training plans to benefit not only the correctional officers but also the inmates. Recent research indicates that most prisons have diverted resources meant for training into other departs.
The critics of this plan argue that these prisons have acted in total ignorance of the current trends where prison populations are swelling, the work environment changing rapidly and a greater emphasis for humanity and rights issues. Organizational response to correctional officer’s career development Given the complex working conditions that correctional officers work in, it is very clear that the vocation is demanding and stressful. It is evident that the effects of such a demanding work environment are not only destructive to the officer in question but also to all those who the officer deals with including family members.
It is also notable that stress for the correctional officers impacts on the organization. It is imperative that the factors that contribute to correctional officer stress cannot be completely eliminated. Nevertheless, it is plausible to control and manage stress in correctional officers by coming up with effective plans for this purpose. Several studies have attempted to describe how organizations need to use training and career development strategies to enable correctional officers to cope with a stressful work environment (Western, 2010).
More importantly, organizations have put in place strategies for enhancing job satisfaction through training and equipping correctional officers with adequate skills for managing and controlling stress. Some critics of this strategy cite personal issues as the main challenge in this issue. The critics argue that job satisfaction in employment is a personal issue and the organizations have nothing to do where personal interests are against a particular job. On the other hand, the proponent’s of the training programs for correctional officers suggest that training is essential in changing officer perceptions.
There have been concerns over the effectiveness and utilization of correctional training and education with particular emphasis on the allocation of correctional resources. Apparently, most of the correctional organizations and agencies have not put into consideration that the training programs must reflect the changing nature of law enforcement and supervision in particular. Of particular significance is the emphasis on addressing the concerns for family member and relatives of the inmate.
Secondly, it appears that correctional organizations have not recognized how family members are essential in this process of rehabilitating correctional officers. T is therefore clear that correctional organizations need to implement strategies for improving training on the ability of correctional officers to manage stress and help the prisoners to manage stress. This comes at a time when many organizations have reported a high turn over rate for correctional officers in the lower cadres (Warr, 2000).
The turn over rates for most originations has been going sharply in recent years. This shows that job satisfaction among correctional officers is very low. Consequently, a big number of officers leave the service to less stressful vocations. The high turn over rates in most correctional organizations have led to an increase in costs as the staff that leave must be replaced with new staff, who must under go training. Other costs to the organizations include the taxes and other payments that the organization must make to settle the employment contracts.
This figure may appear small but considering the number of officers leaving the service, then it is apparent that the institutions must suffer significantly due to this high turn over rate. Some of the statistics have shown that most officers leave the service at the early years of the career (Delprino, 2002). The study established that 71. 0% of correctional officers leave the service at the first two years of employment. Junior officers leave the service mainly due to occupational stress or other family considerations.
In this regard, it is evident that organizational strategies for career development and training must emphasize on the welfare of the correctional officers. In another research, it was established that career development strategies have helped in creating job satisfaction and hence retention of officers. The research revealed that organizations that had career development programs and activities reported high retention rates and low officer turn over rates. This means that career development is a vital tool in controlling costs and enhancing service delivery in correctional facilities.
But one of the greatest challenges for most organizations is not based on the lack of the knowledge but it is a question of how to implement successful career development programs fro correctional officers. The idea for career development as pertains to stress management and job satisfaction for correctional officers, must start early during the recruitment process. This helps significantly in preparing the recruits for future challenges by creating positive values, ideas and attitudes for the correctional work.
On the other hand, it has become increasingly necessary for correctional organizations to facilitate programs for training correction officer supervisors on how to run career development programs. Apparently, there is a huge gap between formal training for correctional officers and the reality of practice. Nevertheless, correctional training programs must focus on career development for all the cadres in the service to improve general performance and quality of service. Professionalizing the correctional officer and role of the higher education
In recent debates, there is a growing attention on the need for organizations to change their recruitment and training procedures to reflect the changing work environment. In this regard, education qualifications and training have received greater emphasis in recent years. More importantly, there have been concerns over the ability of correctional facilities to attract talent and skilled manpower. It is imperative that the correctional vocation is seen as a low paying job where most students do not want to work. In addition, it is notable that the correctional profession is not attractive to most qualified job seekers.
However, it is clear that the institutions of higher education have a role to play in enhancing professional performance in the correctional vocation. . Ideally, the higher education plays a critical role in preparing correctional officers for the demanding role in creational facilities. This training must meet the standards stipulated in the relevant department’s safety standards and training. Training challenges for the correctional workforce With the complexity and diversity in the labor force, one thing that has challenged organizations is how to deal with such a diverse population of officers and prisoners.
It is therefore imperative that most of the challenges in most correctional organizations are almost similar. The main challenge has been the inability o the correctional organizations to attract qualified labor force. The difficulty in recruitment is an indication of the perceptions that the public has over correction officers and the job in general. Some of the factors associated with these perceptions pertain to the low pay and the location of most of the correctional facilities. The work conditions have also been identified as some of the factors that discourage new recruits.
It is assumed that correctional officers work is never attractive as most of the times the officers work at odd times while the shifts discourage most of the potential recruits. On the other hand, the issues of gender, race, age and even disability have become so prominent in recent years that organizations have been forced to adopt strategies for career development by incorporating affirmative action and diversity issues during recruitment and hiring procedures. It is therefore critical that in improving project management education and training for career development must focus on diversity and affirmative action.
However, correctional organizations must recognize that applicants hold the correctional, vocation with lower esteem. As such it is imperative that the management of correctional organizations must put in place measures to improve not only the remuneration and working conditions but also compete with other related organizations within the justice system. In designing the recruitment and hiring strategy, the correctional organizations must focus on attracting qualified recruits by creating efficient recruitment procedures (Colquitt, 2000).
Given the high turnover rates attributed to lack of job satisfaction, there is need for the correctional organizations to implement strategies for enhancing job satisfaction and improve employee retention while reducing the high turn over rate. Organizational change and culture One of greatest challenges for organizations dealing with correctional work pertains to the organizational culture. More importantly, organizational culture bin most organizations have been implicated in creating bureaucracy that discourages creativity, innovation and improvement within the correction service delivery.
It is therefore imperative that organizations must align career development with organizational culture. However, the greatest challenge in changing the organizational culture in correctional facilities is based on the bureaucracy that has been established in the security organizations. Although this bureaucracy serves its own purpose in enhancing order and a clear flow of information, it is imperative that this has dampened creativity and improvement. In developing career development programs, it is imperative that organizations must focus on developing a strategic culture change for correctional officers (Bond and Swanberg 2008).
In developing project management education and training for career development it is essential for the organizations to have a foresight of an effective culture change model. It is apparent that attitudes, beliefs and perceptions in most correctional organizations are negative. As such, career development can only be effective if organizations discarded this bad culture and replacing it with a culture that adds value to the organization and to the profession as a whole. Managing the cultural dynamics in an organization is a challenging task for any manager in a correctional facility.
This is importantly so given the cultural complexity, diversity in age, sex, race among many others. Nevertheless, it is equally important to put together the divergent views by articulating cultural values that shape organizational goals and objectives. An effective culture change must focus on building work expectations, an effective communication strategy and leadership and hierarchy levels as well as developing appropriate workplace behavior and attitudes. Above all, the organizational missions, vision, goals and objectives must have a greater bearing in designing an appropriate culture in correctional organizations.
Generally, the mission of correctional organizations is to rehabilitate offenders. The idea here is to develop a culture that propagates the achievement of this purpose. Consequently, the workforce development efforts must serve this purpose. There is need to improve the training of correctional officers to meet this demand. Moreover, correctional organizations need to develop individuals at personal and professional level. This includes aligning individuals to the organizational values, missions and objectives. Conclusion
With the changing trends in correctional institutions, there is need for correctional organizations to employ appropriate human resource strategies to enhance performance and job satisfaction. In this regard, improvement of project management education and training on career development has emerged as one of the most critical issue in dealing with the challenges that have bedeviled the correctional facilities in recent years. Given the increasing public awareness on human rights, ethical issues and affirmative action, it is also essential for correctional facilities to improve their training to capture these new ideals. References
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Dollard, A. (2008). A test of the demand-control/support model of work stress in correctional officers, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Vol. 3 pp. 243 – 26. Grossi, E. & Vito, G. (2006). Surviving the joint: Mitigating factors or correctional Officer Stress. Journal of Crime and Justice, 14 (2), 101-117. Finn, P. (2007). Addressing correctional officer stress programs and strategies: Issues and practices. Washington, D. C. : U. S. Government Printing Office. McLean, G. Osman-Gani, A. & Cho, E. (2004). Human resource development as national policy. Advances in Developing Human Resources. Retrieved April 30, 2010 from