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Politically Appointed Correctional Administrators: An Empirical Perspective -- Revisited

NCJ Number
Justice Professional Volume: 3 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1988) Pages: 1-38
S Cerrato
Date Published
38 pages
In the wake of prison riots, serious doubts about the effectiveness of the correctional system have been raised by professionals and concerned citizens alike.
This article presents the position that unqualified administrators, by virtue of institutional inexperience and lack of correctional expertise, have become an unstabilizing force within the correctional milieu. It is argued that the appointment of such administrators, based solely upon political patronage, can exacerbate institutionally related conflicts and lead to both correctional instability and disintegration of authority. This paper attempts to answer two major questions relevant to the issue: (1) Do politically appointed administrators have a detrimental effect on proper functioning of the correctional system? (2) Have bureaucratically initiated policy decisions interfered with the safety and efficiency of the correctional staff? The impact of administrative incompetence on correctional supervisors, correctional officers, and inmates, and the relationship between unsound policy implementation and institutionally related conflicts are investigated. Finally, an alternative solution is proposed. (Author abstract)