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Leadership, Management and Technology in Private Prisons

2641 words (11 pages) Essay in Management

08/02/20 Management Reference this

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Private Prisons: An Organization with an Extra-Large McJob

The private prisons have its own organizational method through the use of technology, leadership, and management when it comes to bringing in profit, providing efficiency, predictability and control. It’s more than a large and ordinary operation when compared to other companies. It’s considered to be extra-large in more ways than one can expect a private prison to operate. Everyone has their job duties and responsibilities. If everyone stays in their own path and perform their job properly which are guided by polices and procedures, then the private prisons can function on their destination to success in large profit. It’s not just the employees that will be happy, but the inmates as well. The efficiency that employees put into making private prison work is exceptional. It’s definitely not a one man’s show or operation. It takes leadership that acknowledge the company’s policy. From the warden, the assistant wardens, human resources department, business department, commissary department, unit staff and correctional officers, all have a part in the daily operation. In the private system, everyone has a chain of command to follow. There are policies and procedures that are set in place for everyone should to abide. Management is taken to a high level that provides efficiency and control

Private prisons have to use technology in order to operate and function 24 hours and 7 days a week. The facility never closes. Inmates care and living headquarters while serving prison time is main priority. The staff members that work in a private prison have a large scale of tasks that have to be accomplished on a daily basis. That’s why technology is so important. Without technology, the private prisons wouldn’t function properly and they wouldn’t have any structure. Some people are old fashion and do not have the basic knowledge of simple computer skills. They assume that technology is too complicated and overrated. They would rather do everything by pencil and paper, but that’s not the method that would keep a large organization such as a private prison in successful operation. In a private prison setting, people that have the old fashion mind set about technology have learned to be quick and fast on the computer or their job is at risk when taking a long time to print off an inmate roster or booking inmates into the computer as the inmates are in the process of transitioning into the facility.

Leadership is another principle that counts towards private prisons. Everyone cannot be the leader in a large organization. When everyone is the leader, everyone normally ends up crashing into one another and some people can get injured. The same principle applies to a private prison. If several employees in the private prison decides that they want to be the leader, this can cause the company money especially if more than one inmate or staff member gets inured. For instance, if twenty officers decided that they weren’t going to listen the instructions of the captain that was on shift that day and twenty correctional officers decided that they wanted to do fence check instead of going into their assigned dorms to watch the inmates. This would be a bad idea. When a correctional officer is not in the dorm room watching the inmates, inmates would start fighting each other or there might be an inmate that got sexually assaulted by another inmate. That’s why only a few can lead and those that are leading have the responsibility to delegate work to their subordinates. We call those leaders in a private prison “department heads”. Department heads a group of employees that are subordinates that work under them. For instance, the Human Resources Manager is a department head because under the Human Resources Manager consist of employees that have the job title Human Resources Assistant, Human Resources Personnel Investigator and the Human Resources Clerk. All of these job titles make up the Human Resources department. Each person in this department has a job duty and responsibility to follow the policies and procedures that are outlined throughout the facility.

Leadership in a private prison leads to how things are to be managed. Management in a private prison is also an important factor. They make sure that they follow the policies as well as the employees and inmates. They set the tone for the building. They have to lead by example. A private prison needs management that is efficient and has control in making sure that employees have an outline of guidelines that they have to follow and uphold. It is a vital necessity for them to be on the right track when entering the facility and being around inmates. With management, leaders not only train staff members, but they too receive training in a number of ways in order to help inmates and staff.

Private Prison’s Technology, Profits and Predictabilities 

The organizational structure is what makes a private prison function appropriately via McJobs by being efficient and predictable. Authors Pamela Tolbert and Richard Hall stated in the book Organizations Structure, Processes and Outcomes that organizational structure can have the effects of technology. Without technology, today’s society cannot function. Private prisons use technology every day in order to make things work. As noted by authors Tolbert and Hall, “‘large-batch’ technology [which is] (involving large-scale production)”, is what a private prison with a bed size of 1900 or more would consist of. (Tolbert and Hall 2016). Private prisons use technology in order for daily operations to go smooth with in the facility. In regards to the article Prison, Coerced Demand, and the Importance of Incarcerated Bodies in Late Capitalism, Author Natalie Delia Deckard noted that there is a global production chain and ever-improving industrial technologies. (Deckard 2017). By saying this, Author Deckard understands that technology is always improving and updating to become better than the previous month before. Technology is one of the major factors in any company towards being profitable. The need for the advancement of technology is great. Without it, the company or in this case private prison couldn’t produce what is needed in order to build towards their revenue. In the article, it is notes that prisons in general have a motive for being centered around making profit despite the negative approach towards forced labor in a prison. Forced labor is another topic for another day. In general, the importance and goal of most organizations is to make a lot of revenue. It’s very simple. Without the income of revenue, there is no organization. In order to make a lot of revenue, the company must make an investment towards it. For instance, in the private prison setting uses technology like scanners, computers, metal detectors, operating systems and walkie talkie radios all play a role in how smooth the operation of the facility functions.

Leadership and Management Using Efficiency and Control the McJob’s Way

Authors Armstrong and MacKenzie in the article Private Versus Public Juvenile Correctional Facilities: Do Differences in Environmental Quality Exist? states that there are eight dimensions in a prison. Evaluating the quality of the prison’s environment it was noted that security which is always number one and followed by safety, then order, next to care, along with activity, then justice, with the conditions, and management of a prison helps build structure (Armstrong and MacKenzie 2003). Management is always a structure that is needed no matter if the company is larger or small. In the case of a private prison, it is needed in order maintain the operation of the correctional facility. They are able to build on being efficient and having control. Private prison’s leadership makes sure that management are on top of things ‘like inmate and employee’s welfare. Maintaining efficiency and control throughout a facility has a great deal with following policies and procedures. If an employee was to deviate from what is written in black and white, which is what is written on paper, it could cause the facility to not only be out of compliance, but it could cause the private prison a great deal of losing control and becoming inefficient.  It would take good leadership by the wardens, chiefs, and department heads to manage staff members and can make sure that things like policies are being followed.


 On the note of McJobs, private prisons have a way with using technology to make things efficient, predictable and under control. As mentioned before, private prisons use technology like metal detectors for employees and visitors to walk through when entering the facility. This prevents contraband from entering the facility. The employees and visitors can predict exactly what they need to do as soon as they walk into the prison and see a huge metal detector along with an x-ray machine with a conveyor belt to put all of their property. This entry procedure is needed when a “large batch” like a private prison. (Tolbert and Hall 2016). Then there are the daily use of scanners and computers to make sure that the inmates are accounted for in the building. They make sure that the inmates are booked and housed appropriately. Fingerprints and pictures are taken of each inmate throughout the whole facility. Each inmate has to be accounted for in the offender system. The offender system has to match up with the inmate that is pulled up on file in the computer. Without this operation, the private prison would be at loss of money. Private prisons make their money through the number of inmates that are there in the prison. Without an accurate count of the inmates, not only do the private prisons lose money, but an inmate could have escaped. This is why technology is so important. Every quarter, the private prisons technology/maintenance team updates all the software. This update is very vital for the company. If the software isn’t updated that means that inmates cannot be booked and processed properly. The surveillance cameras in and around the facility are always up and running. When incidents like fights and assaults need to be investigated, the facility investigator along with the assistant wardens and chiefs have to use a surveillance camera system that’s on the computer to help them solve problems like these within the facility. My recommendation would be to always improve with surveillance cameras and technology in general. What may have worked today, may not work today. Always make room for improvement. If the software is updated every six months, there is nothing wrong with making software updates every month or every three months. That way the systems are always up to date. When it comes to updating technology, there is always an area for upgrading. Upgrading technology is also another recommendation for a private prison. It doesn’t matter if it’s a scanner, walkie talkie radio, computer, or the offender system.

When it comes to leadership, they make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to policies and procedures. Policies and procedures in an organization like a prison can have a lasting effect especially if they have it in an efficient and in control manner. For example, if policy states that the prison can not exceed an x number of inmates due to the facilities capacity, then that’s to control the amount of population that enters into the facility. The warden, assistant wardens, chiefs and department heads make sure that things like capacity stays within policy. Another example would be the procedures for feeding inmates. There are only an x number that is supposed to be let out of their dorms at a time. This is to control the hallway. Employees can have more control of a situation that might occur when there are few inmates involved. The approach is the less the better. Yes, the employees it would make things go a lot quicker if more inmates would get to their destination like the chow hall and recreation, but one must remember that corrections is never convenient. For instance, if there was a fight to break out among the inmates when they are in the hallway, staff would be able to control the situation then have a lot of inmates try to over power the facility. One way that leadership can help their employees is through annual training and sometimes documented training is always necessary.

For example, each year every employee rather if they are administrative or security should go through annual training courses that shows them the principle of policies and procedures. Training courses should be online and hands on from all employees in a private prison. Some training courses should be taken online like at college universities that consist of with learning skills and practicing with a multiple-choice question / fill in the blank test at the end of each segment. Then there should be on site and off sit training for leaders. Leaders should be able to get training away from the facility in another environment. This way they can focus more on what is being said then what is going around their facility. There won’t be anyone to interrupt and bother them to do job duties from time to time while they are in training. This off-site training is strictly for learning and training the leaders on how to actually go out and better help sever there administrative and security staff members more effectively when situations come up with inmates. They can help assist staff members and staff members are able to learn and have more insight just in case that same situation occurs again and that staff member may not be available on that day to help assist. Overtime staff members are learning to manage their job and help run the facility. They will not try to lead and take over, but instead apply the policies and procedures that are taught in annual training rather if its online or hands on.

When technology is updated, the organization will always have profit. In order to make profit, an organization has to invest in ways to make it better. In a private prison, they invest in training, walkie talkie radios, x-ray machines, computers, telephones, scanners and surveillance cameras. Next to that is leadership. Leadership has a key role when it comes to leading the facility’s staff members into the right directions. Policies and procedures are always set in place for employees to follow. This makes them efficient and have control in their job duties and responsibilities. Management along with great leadership can help the facility a great deal. Manage the way the facility is ran through the hallways so that staff members can have control in case situations arise. All of this will help any organization to function properly and head towards the road of success and staying successful. With private prisons traying to maintain being efficient, predictable and having control can become an extra large McJob for anyone entering that career path.


  • Armstrong, Gaylene and MacKenzie. 2013. “Private Versus Public Juvenile Correctional Facilities: Do Differences in Environmental Quality Exist? Crime and Delinquency.
  • Deckard, Natalie. 2017. “Prison, Coerced Demand, and the Importance of Incarcerated Bodies in Late Capitalism” SAGE publications.
  • Tolbert, Pamela and Hall, Richard. 2016. “Organizations Structures, Processes, and Outcomes” Pearson Education, Inc.: 50.
  • Ritzer, George. 2019. “The McDonaldization of Society into The Digital Age” SAGE publications.: 2-4
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