Racial Diversity Issue in the Prison Facility
Race and ethnicity have always been a controversial issue in many places around the world. The ignorance of racial diversity among people not only in the society, but also in many organizations raise concern with equality and discriminatory judgement. A prison facility for example, particularly in the United States faces the same dilemma when it comes to racial differences that impact the administrative and operational management. A facility consists of inmates from various cultural backgrounds and ethnicity together with the same mix of racial diversity among staff is most likely to create a collision at any given time. However, it should not be the case. This is because no matter how diverse a working environment is in terms of people's cultural background, humility among staff, proper behaviors and sense of professionalism should always come first before any personal racial perception.
In a prison facility setting, the staff should understand that principles towards racial and ethnic background should not intervene with their commitment they made to their chosen job. Saari and Judge (2004) discussed in their article the proper employment attitudes that prison staff should have to fulfill job satisfaction required from them by the organization. Self disposition among the staff of the prison facility overcomes the sense of responsibility that they need to deliver as a staff of the organization. Cultural and disposition influences from other people or from the inmates must not overpower the professional attitude needed for the job as a jail guard (Saari and Judge, 2004, p. 396-399). Attitudes differ from one person to another, but in an organization setting the attitude of the employees should demonstrate characteristics such as dedication, loyalty and commitment. Once poor attitudes took over, the effects will extend to the operational integrity of the facility and might compromise security. This is because poor attitude has a leniency attribution towards the implementation of security in the correctional facility. Once the poor attitude among the staff were constantly on display, there is a huge tendency for more conflicts and security breach that will result to the loss of integrity on the part of the prison administrators and to the facility itself.
It is important for any organization not only in a correctional facility to have employee satisfaction because it will also reflect on the overall performance of the organization in general. It will improve retention, reduce the cost of training and recruiting and enables deeper commitment among staff (Wright et al, 1997, p. 13-15). Employee satisfaction in correctional facilities will result to teamwork, lesser risk of alienation from the inmates, less intimidation from the inmates, ensure security strength and boost self-motivation to perform the job well while exercising reasonable judgement.
Since correctional facilities are generally known as a government owned institutions, corruption is rampant in the facility. This includes under-the-table transactions between inmates and jail guards allowing contraband to pass through security in exchange for money or outside influence (Souryal, 2009, p. 34-35). The prevalence of corruption in correctional facilities is an indication of poor employee satisfaction because of the lack of commitment to implement strict rules. Other indicators are absenteeism, tardiness, higher retention rate, conflicts with fellow employees and drastic behaviors. If those mentioned indicators prevail inside the institution, the management should take immediate action and seek the cause of dissatisfaction. On the part of the administrators and the jail warden in particular, seeing the occurrences of the indicators should signal an alarm to find out where the problem is coming from. The first step in determining the cause of employee dissatisfaction is to administer the employee satisfaction survey that will measure their confidence in their job and what are the things that the management can do manage the situation.
The case scenario that confers the articulation of the subject of prison violence in this essay was described as having inmates of different racial groups are engaged in a series of disturbances in the correctional facility. Along with that is the challenge of having employees that are also divided by ethnicity. In order to address the problem, the decision for implementation of any solution should be aligned with any of the three ethical decision criteria. The most applicable ethical decision criteria for the given scenario would be the criterion focusing on justice. As the person playing the role of the warden, the responsibility to take action enforcing the rules impartially and fairly exhibits an equal distribution of cost and benefit.
Since the main issue is about the divided perception of the people in the correctional facility about ethnicity, it is important for the warden as the leader to impose justice of equality. It is to set aside the differences between the inmates and the staff. According to the given scenario there are issues of leniency on inmates belonging to the same race of the staff. For example, inmates of Mexican descent are more likely to receive special treatment from a staff of the same ethnicity. While the same staff could be more strict with the other race such as Asians as well as the Caucasians and the same goes with the other racial groups. The principles of justice and equality as the influencing factor in decision making will provide a better environment for both the inmates and the staff (Citeman.com, 2006, Web). Following the ethical standards of justice will transform the correctional facility as a place where individuals from all sorts of race can co-exist harmoniously. This approach entails a more peaceful environment in the correctional facility. Furthermore, imposing rules based on the ethical criteria of justice will help eliminate any indication of employee dissatisfaction because fair and equality will reduce cases of staff turning a blind eye on inmate violators because of cultural connection.
The organization leading a prison facility normally works as a group, as for the prison guards and other staff, they perform their job responsibilities and perform a single function. This idea confers the fact that correctional institution works under a group concept. In this setting, organizational behavior plays a crucial role in predicting the performance of the organization itself. Therefore, norms affect and reinforce consistency among staff. By definition, norms are the standard and accepted behaviors shared within the organization (Robins and Judge, n.d., Web). In a correctional facility, performance and social arrangement norms are obvious on both the staff and the inmates. In terms of performance norms, it is described as the level of acceptable outputs and tardiness, while social arrangement depicts social interaction within the institution. Both of these norms affect job satisfaction in such a way that tardiness and absenteeism lowers the output level of the staff and the organization as a whole. Social arrangement on the other hand also affects job satisfaction because the behavior of the staff is influence by the way they interact with the inmates within their cultural circle. Such interaction tends to bend the rules imposed by the administration because of the mere consideration to their racial connection with the inmates, which was established during social interaction.
When social arrangement and performance norms prevail in the organization, it will eventually impact those staff that are performing their duties without conforming on personality. Setting aside personal differences among staff in the correctional facility entails displays the ethical criteria of justice. However, if social arrangement norms prevail stronger than performance norms, it is likely to affect staff that is not conforming on personality. This is because seeing their colleagues performing their duties following social arrangement would result to conflict and will eventually affect their work performance. Furthermore, low job satisfaction will reflect negatively on the organization.
Citeman Network (2006, March 28). Three ethical decision criteria. Citeman Network — Online Business Community Knowledgebase. Retrieved September 10, 2012, from http://www.citeman.com/292-three-ethical-decision-criteria.html
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (n.d.). Foundations of Group Behavior. Pearson Prentice Hall. Retrieved September 10, 2012, from http://wps.prenhall.com/bp_robbins_ob_13/87/22445/5746013.cw/-/5746069/index.html
Saari, L. M., & Judge, T. A. (2004). Employee Attitudes and Job Satisfaction. Human Resource Management, 43(4), 396-399. doi:10.1002/hrm.20032.
Souryal, S. A. (2009). Deterring Corruption by Prison Personnel: A Principle-Based Perspective. The Prison Journal, 89(21), 34-35. doi:10.1177/0032885508329979.
Wright, K. N., Saylor, W. G., Gilman, E., & Camp, S. (1997). Job Control and Occupational Outcomes Among Prison Workers. Justice Quarterly, 14(3), 13-15.