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Cja 304 - Verbal Communication Paper

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Verbal Communication Paper

Bridgette Boyden

CJA 304

June 11, 2011

Professor Eric Winch

Verbal Communication Paper

In today's society people depend on different sources of communication, whether it is verbal or nonverbal to relay information. In the criminal justice arena communication is very important and can make the difference in how a case is presented from attorney to judge and to jury, from law enforcement officer to suspect or witness, and from commanding officers to their employees. Without verbal or nonverbal communication individuals would have to rely on other sources to relay what may be deemed pertinent and vital information at that particular moment. However without these forms of communication society will undoubtedly see an inevitable breakdown in how things are passed from one individual to another. This paper will discuss the importance of verbal and nonverbal communication and how they affect police situations, the courtroom setting, correctional facilities and juvenile facilities as they relate to press announcements, testifying, and the communication between C.O.s and inmates.

Before this paper goes into detail about verbal and nonverbal communication and how it affects the areas in the previous mentioned paragraph, it is only right that the definitions of each be explained. Verbal communication is a type of communication that involves words or speech, whereas nonverbal communication is a type of communication that involves signals and/or hand gestures and let's not forget body language. (Riggio, R.E., Feldman, R.S. 2005)

Society is no newcomer to police press conferences and public announcements whether it is the nightly news, breaking news or news at four, all of this is considered verbal communication between the police and the public, and the manner in which verbal communication is transmitted affects how the information is relayed and received, it also makes it easier for the presenter to convey the information correctly to the awaiting public. Also, verbal communication can affect public announcement to the press negatively. However, the chances of this may be rare, but nonetheless can happen when the speaker does not know how to communicate the information clearly. Verbal communication can destroy the relationship between the speaker and the audience. So, in order to use verbal communication effectively, an individual should learn to speak with respect, as well as respect others. (Riggio, R.E., Feldman, R.S. 2005)

However, one mustn't stop there; nonverbal communication can also have an effect on public announcements. First and foremost it must be understood that using nonverbal communication can be difficult for the receiver to understand exactly what is trying to be communicated, however when used in conjunction with verbal communication it can have the opposite effect on what is being communicated and that is leaving the recipient with a more clear understanding of what is being conveyed.

It is so very evident that when in a court of law there is information that needs to be communicated by the prosecuting and defending attorneys to the judge and jury. This information is provided to prove the innocence or guilt of that person that is currently on trial. In an attempt to persuade, an attorney employs several different strategies to influence the jury. An attorney must rely on their verbal skills through use of argument, case law, the rules of evidence and the unadulterated facts, however despite all of this they should be conscious of the nonverbal signs of communication that they display.

The use of nonverbal communication in the courtroom has its own subtle way of effecting how the court proceedings flow, this is often evidenced by hand gestures, and facial expressions something that everyone in the courtroom can notice and observe. In turn the attorneys may communicate with gestures and facial expressions in their opening statement and in return the jury may communicate back with their posture etc. same goes for the individual on trial. (Ekman and Friesen, 1974)

Verbal communication in correctional facilities is very important especially between officers, it allows them to respond to certain crisis situations, monitor movement of inmates, and report any significant incidents at the change of a shift. Communication between officers and inmates is also essential, especially if there is an incident in which de-escalation of an inmate is needed. How an officer responds to the actions of an inmate can play a role in how an inmate responds back.

Upon entering a correctional facility an officer has to lock up their weapon, this can leave them feeling vulnerable to the inmate population, however if they can communicate on a respectful level then it is the expectation that this respect will be returned. Many officers come into the department of corrections thinking that they have what it takes to communicate with others, but nothing can be further from the truth. Some correctional facilities offer training in communication. Communication does not just lie with the officers amongst each other, or inmates. It also lies between inmates.

There is no hidden language or code, but inmates have their way of communicating verbally as well as nonverbally between one another. Since violence and aggressive behaviour is something that happens all too often in correctional facilities, it would help correctional officers to be aware of some of the verbal and nonverbal cues that can be heard and observed

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