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Leadership in a Correctional Environment

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 31 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 2006 Pages: 1-5,11
Michael J. Montgomery
Date Published
May 2006
6 pages
This paper identifies and discusses some aspects of the leadership challenge in a correctional environment, specifically prisons.
It begins with a brief review of leadership theories that include early trait theories, other theories that focus on the abilities of the leader, and modern theories of leadership that emphasize the relationship between leaders and followers. The paper then discusses 10 competencies of effective correctional management developed by the author during his 30 years of public and private correctional service. These competencies involve concentrating on the "big picture;" observing areas of responsibility frequently; resolving problems quickly; responding to every inquiry; enhancing their abilities; communicating with individuals inside and outside the organization; thinking outside the box, but not too far; integrating integrity as a core value; offering their skills to resolve problems; and nurturing staff. The paper concludes with a discussion of the impact of correctional leadership and implications for future research. The author acknowledges that although this paper does not provide empirical data on correctional leadership, it identifies areas in which empirical analysis might build knowledge on the leadership needs of correctional systems. Correctional leadership based on empirically proven qualities and strategies is especially important as correctional leaders become more accountable to the public and its elected representatives. 16 references