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Organizational Behavior - Jennifer Allen and Rajeev Sawhney Point Out - Legal and Political Challenges

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Legal and Political Challenges

Criminal justice agencies deal with legal and political pressures that occur within as well as outside of their system. As Jennifer Allen and Rajeev Sawhney point out in their textbook on management in criminal justice, police officers, courts and corrections are all affected by changes in the law. Police are required to enforce the laws, while the court system ensures that individuals maintain their rights. Politics can play a large role ,as most prosecutors and state judges are elected to their office. An election year can lead to a number of changes to the top of a criminal justice organization. Leaders of these organizations need to stay informed of changing laws and be aware of political alliances (see References 1).

Conflict and Power

As Allen and Sawhney note, conflict is inherent in most organizations today. However, criminal justice agencies face conflict among the variety of agencies. Police officers arrest persons charged with crime, while the court system decides what punishment, if any, should be imposed. The prison system must ensure that the punishment is carried out in a safe, orderly fashion. According to the Law Library, these agencies do not always have the same goals and conflicts arise. For example, the police often seek to remove offenders from the streets, while the courts may feel it is best to rehabilitate the offender within the community. The police, courts and prisons wield a substantial amount of power with these responsibilities. Leadership for these criminal justice agencies must balance this power with fairness (see References 1 and 2).

Communication Issues

There are two major barriers to effective communication, according to Allen and Sawhney. The first are individual barriers, or those relating to a person's own interpretation of a message. The second are organizational barriers, or those barriers which derive from an organization's culture. The court system, police and corrections have different jargon which is used within their culture. This often makes communication difficult between the organizations, as well as the general public (see References 1). Leaders need to be effective communicators to handle these challenges.

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