Leadership in the criminal justice system

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Policy and planning at State Department of Probation:

Type of leadership influences the decision making process within an organization. There are numerous types of leadership that an organization can have (Stojkovic, Kalinich and Klofas, 359). This includes the authoritarian type of leadership, and it was practiced by Steve Jobs. Another type of leadership is the democratic type of leadership that was practiced by leading entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates (Gates and Lisa, 14). These two leaders are achieved success in their various types of leadership.

Under authoritarian type of leadership, the decision is made by the leader, and it cannot be over ruled. In a democratic type of leadership, employees of an organization will contribute in the decision making process (Gates and Lisa, 23). These two leaders were in the business world. The leadership type that is successful in the business world is different from the type of leadership that is successful.

The Criminal Justice system and the Leader:

In the criminal justice system, the leader has to be aware and politically astute that through his or her leadership styles, the values and structures of the organization are influenced (Carson and Andy, 38). Welsh and Harris (136) in their discussion of conflict management and resistance, they acknowledge this fact. This creates a link to understanding the people and the organization within the agency. The internal constituent groups of an organization, such as unions have become influential bodies in the criminal justice system (Carson and Andy, 41). It is hard for organizations to successfully develop programs or policies without the the participation of these constituent groups. This would amount to wastage of resources. The leadership structure and organization of the criminal justice system is hierarchical in nature. However, the participation and input of junior officers is gained through communication, inclusion, and sharing of control (Stojkovic, Kalinich and Klofas, 358).

It is based on these facts, that policy formulators should consider when coming with a decision whether to reduce personnel costs is a good idea (Carson and Andy, 22). This discussion analyzes and discusses whether the reduction of personnel and use of electronic surveillance on probationers and parolees is a good idea. Consequently, if it is a good idea the strategies to employ in convincing the three stakeholders: employees, judges and parole board to be on board with the policy change and plan.

Budget Cuts and Personnel Reduction: Budget cuts of between 10-15 percent for the next year will necessitate the reduction of personnel costs as the only effective way of operating within the budget limits. The consequences of personnel reduction will be increased work load on the remaining officers taking into account that the caseload is on the rise (Carson and Andy, 12). To make it feasible for officers to handle more clients in multiple locations effectively and efficiently it will be necessary to put clients on probation and parole on electronic surveillance by way of ankle bracelets (Carson and Andy, 27).

To achieve the above goals, we will have to convince the three stakeholders:

  1. The employees to take on more workload,
  2. judges to authorize the use of more electronic surveillance on probationers and,
  3. The parole board to call for electronic surveillance on more parolees.

Welsh and Harris (23) outline how to analyze problems. I propose that we use incorporate their methods in our discussions.

Decision- Making Styles:

There are numerous decision-making styles fronted by many practitioners and theorists. Stojkovic, Kalinich and Klofas (359) believe that in a decision making process, there is a need of using complex theories for purposes of developing a good decision. Furthermore, in each and every decision making process, policy formulators will develop a decision to address the problem under consideration. To Stojkovic, Kalinich and Klofas (358) decision –making styles include:

Directive- In directive decision-making this team will announce our decision to the officers and subordinates. Directive decision-making will be used only if our officers are inexperienced and not willing to participate in the process.

Analytical- Gather all the information needed to make an informed decision. In this style, we will apply Welsh and Harris model for analyzing problems then make our decision (37).

Conceptual-In this style this team will discuss with officers to get ideas on solutions to the problem before us. We will take into considerations meaningful suggestion in fronting our final decision (Carson and Andy, 22).

Behavioral-The team will interact with other employees and encourage open discussions among employees and the team. In this model, we will waffle and not take the appropriate and necessary action.

After the decision-making process, if the idea to reduce personnel costs in order to cope with budget cuts and use electronic surveillance on probationers and parolees to enable the officers be

able to monitor more clients is a good idea; consequently this team will have to lead and convince the three stakeholders of the rationale and the practicality of our decisions (Welsh and Harris, 42).

While making our decision, we must be cognizant of internal and external politics that might affect or impact negatively on our decision to lay off personnel as an effective way of dealing with the anticipated budget cut.

Leadership Styles:

Stojkovic, Kalinich and Klofas (191) explain that leadership is a process that accomplishes the goals of an organization. These authors say leadership in public organizations is political, learned, and group-oriented.

For the problem before us, this team should consider path-goal theory and transformational theory.

Path-goal theory- To Stojkovic, Kalinich and Klofas (193) path-goal theory comprises of four leadership styles. These are directive in which the leader gives assignments and assigns clear key performance indicators. In supportive leadership style, we will strive to make the job (Increased workload) pleasant and feasible by providing electronic surveillance for probationers and parolees (Carson and Andy, 41). Through the use of conceptual decision-making style, we will have shown participative leadership as we have involved the stakeholders in the decision-making process, therefore, easy to convince them of the team’s decision (Carson, David, and Andy, 39). In achievement-oriented leadership, the officers will be encouraged to perform at the highest level.

Transformational Leadership

At the heart of transformational leadership are mission and vision statements, goal setting, and imaginative and creative approach to problem-solving within the organization (Stojkovic, Kalinich and Klofas 206).It requires the appealing to the officers on the importance of the organizations vision and mission.

Managing Resistance and Conflict:

Resistance to the decision taken is inevitable from any of the stakeholders or even from within our policy team itself. Welsh and Harris (132) give four general principles of conflict resolution. These general principles are:

Avoid the use of force. Force is ineffective in dealing with opposition.

Work towards a win -win solution by looking for common ground on which your interest converge, be willing to give up something (Pettinger, 16);

Have alternatives and options with dealing with the problem.

Negotiate professionally. Avoid personalization of the negotiation. Here clarity in communicating interest and position is paramount (Pettinger, 13). The parties involved must have a clear picture of elements in the negotiations. Options that are of mutual gain should be fronted to gain consensus.


From the analysis and examining the problem at hand, the logical decision-making styles to use are directive, conceptual and analytical. The team to a great certainty decide to reduce personnel cost in order to cope with the budget cut effectively. Therefore, the leadership styles we will employ in persuading the three stakeholders to favor our decision are: path-goal theory leadership styles are directive, supportive, participatory and achievement-oriented. Transformational leadership style will compliment the aforementioned styles (Criminal justice organization, 33). In implementing the above, we should incorporate policy designs models as advocated by Welsh and Harris (125).

While being cognizant of pitfall of not being sensitive to political influences. Avoiding the mistakes made by General Patton on the political front. Patton was devoid of diplomatic acumen and political savory. He antagonized those in high political office as well as allies leading to his removal from office.(Pattinger, 14).

Works Cited

Carson, David, and Andy Bain. Professional risk and working with people decision-making in health,

social care and criminal justice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008. Print.

Gates, Bill, and Lisa Rogak. Impatient optimist: Bill Gates in his own words. Melbourne, Vic.: Hardie

Grant, 2012. Print.

Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of General S Patton.”, Oxford, biographyonline.net, 16th Mar. 2010

Stojkovic, Kalinich, and John Klofas.Criminal justice organization: Administration and Management.5th ed. Belmont: Thomson and Wadsworth , 2012.print.

Criminal justice organization: Administration and management.5th ed. Stamford: Cengage, 2014.print.

Welsh .N.Wayne and Philip.W.Harris. Criminal Justice policy and planning.4th ed.Newark, NJ: Anderson publishing, 2013.print.