Organizational Structure

Each organization is driven by its mission and goals. Within the criminal justice environment, this is accomplished through a chain of command. This process exposes its true nature as a quasi-military organization. Consequently, it is inherently top-down in structure. Executive staff informs mid-level managers (usually lieutenants for police and corrections; administrative clerks for the Courts), who in turn inform line-level supervisors. The centralized authoritarian complex thrives in this environment. It, however, stifles employee decision-making and discretion – something that street employees possess a great deal of. The problem is compounded when multiple layers of command exist either vertically or horizontally within an organization and then even across organizations. A good example of this is the misdemeanor warrant for less than $50. It is common for an officer to encounter an individual who has failed to pay a fine and then to have an arrest warrant issued by the court for this person. Discretion would dictate that the officer informs the person that the outstanding warrant exists and that the person turns himself/herself into the police. However, the warrant specifically states that, by order of the court, the officer shall, not may, take the person into custody. So, the person is arrested, the car is towed, and the person is booked into detention. If the person has children in his/her care, those children must be temporarily placed into foster care if a relative is unavailable. All because the Court refuses to change the wording from shall to may. The Court ultimately receives the $50.

However, it costs the officer’s time and salary, the individual several hundred dollars in towing or child placement costs, and the detention facility to clothe and feed the person while an individual was incarcerated. While this might scenario and its aftermath may appear unreasonable to you, instances like this occur daily within the justice system at every level. Bolman and Deal (need citation here) argued that an organization should be conventionalized into four distinct frames: 1) the structural frame (division of labor), 2) the symbolic frame (ritual and culture), 3) the political frame (resources), and 4) the human resource frame (human needs). In this way, administrators can map avenues to awareness and empathy outside of the traditional, formal, and informal structures. Identifying problems, they contend, is easier and more discrete. This may be the answer to refining complex vertical and horizontal criminal justice organizational structures. Be sure to review this week’s resources carefully. You are expected to apply the information from these resources when you prepare your assignments. Resources: Bell, G. G., & Rochford, L. (2016). Research notes: Rediscovering SWOT’s integrative nature: A new understanding of an old framework. International Journal Of Management Education, 14310-326. doi:10.1016/j.ijme.2016.06.003 Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (1991). Leadership and Management Effectiveness: A Multi-Frame, Multi-Sector Analysis. Human Resource Management, 30(4), 509-534. HALL, D. J., & SUSKIN, L. (2013). Responding to the Crisis-Reengineering Court Governance and Structure. New England Law Review, 47(3), 505. Assignment: Create a Diagram and SWOT analysis of a proposed reorganization of the District and Municipal Court (10 Points) Local municipal jurisdictions are reconsidering their decision to operate their own court system, rather than depend upon county district and superior courts. Called a cash-grab by some, local jurisdictions believed initially that they could recover much of the cost of operating the system through fines and other assessments rather than contract with the county and pay negotiated fees. For some municipal jurisdictions, the separation has been profitable. In other cases, not so much. While the separation might be about money, some municipal jurisdictions disagree philosophically with their county counterpart over traditional court structures. For example, some municipalities prefer to offer Early Case Resolution (ECR) to eligible first-time non-violent felony offenders. This allows offenders to enroll in treatment programs rather than face trial. Where the offender bears most of the cost, it is very inexpensive for the municipality. Many county courts do not offer this option, so it motivates municipalities to break from them. There are unintended consequences, however. Usually, the local private attorney community thrives economically defending Class 3 non-violent offenders. With ECR, Class 3 non-violent offenders now require no representation. Local attorneys must now fight for business defending less frequent cases of violence. Assignment Instructions: For this assignment, you are a policy advisor for a city council person. You have been asked to complete a SWOT analysis of the idea of not renewing the contract with the county over court services and creating a new municipal court. While you should assume that the creation of such a court is legal, there are indeed implications to creating local ordinances. You should consider these while you construct your SWOT analysis. While this plan is still in its infancy, the council person wants you to present a diagram of the new organizational municipal court structure and a memorandum outlining how this process will be organized and how it might operate to deliver a more refined, less expensive outcome. You may use a court structure from your immediate area or jurisdiction. Or, you may search the endless municipal court organizational charts found on the Internet. You may also use Microsoft Office SmartArt to create the diagram or other free trial software packages such as SmartDraw or RFFlow. The SWOT analysis may be single-spaced in office memorandum format. You should, however, cite your sources when supporting examples, costs, and benefits.


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