Shades of Gray in Prison Administration

By Daly, William C. | Education, Spring 2002 | Go to article overview

Shades of Gray in Prison Administration

Daly, William C., Education

Organizations are largely the shadows of their executives ... it does not matter whether one is talking about Harvard University, the Chrysler Corporation or the Texas Department of Corrections. The executives skills and abilities, his sense of mission and dedication to duty are decisive in determining how-and how well-an organizations runs.

Dr. George Beto


Most of what follows stems from F. J. Roethlisberger's Personnel Management Model published in Management and Morale, Harvard University Press, 1946. The writer has taken principals of human collaboration from Roethlesberger's Hawthorn Works of the Western Electric Company and applied them to a prison complex. They are dynamisms and procedures which perhaps have slipped into a library abyss over the decades, needing a full resurrection so they may hopefully work positively in this era of crime and prison expansion.

As a preface, an industrial for-profit organization produces an outcome which is manufactured, marketed and sold, sustaining the organization through a profit margin. A not-for-profit or public facility on the other hand, such as a prison, deals with humans as a product; they are as such convicted, incarcerated, maintained and where possible rehabilitated, enhancing and contributing to society indirectly upon their release. Existing profit is less immediate and tangible and more futuristic as a concept. It is assumed that those who restore themselves and live outside the criminal staging area translate more meaningfully their living habits which can add to societal profit. This economic profit elusive though it might be and of course different from and less direct as the profit derived from an industrial complex can be considered in itself a gain.

In addition, an inspection of any prison should uncover sociologically the following five groups of personnel. 1) A group of people called management (warden, assistant wardens, security chief, clinical services supervisor) to whom concern for the whole prison facility exists. 2) A group of supervisors through which prison management exercises control (majors, captains, lieutenants, counselors, supervisors, program supervisors). They carry out orders which in turn help to maintain balance in the prison population. Their task is to get the job done. 3) A group of what is known as security personnel, the bulk of the labor force, who carry out directives related to prisoners and their welfare. 4) A group of technical personnel (plant engineers, health care specialists, educators, business officials and visiting specialists) to oversee and monitor certain aspects of the operation. 5) A group of office workers and clerical assistants. Cogent principles of management generally are applicable to any type of working organization, the foregoing included. The prison structure, however, is different in one major respect. Management is faced with a critical layer apart from the five groups of employees noted above, namely the prison population itself. This element adds appreciably to the complexity of the organization. Such a sub-stratum which has its social nuances, consisting of attitudes, beliefs and sentiments, persists in a very dynamic way supplementing and sometimes contaminating the remaining layers of the organization with a resistive and/or confrontational overlay.

Social relationships exist also in the main body of the prison organization, the employee emporium. Managers, aware of the necessary statutorial, technical and formal structure, should too be cognizant of the informal scene consisting of employee relationships which are active and alive translating and communicating feelings, beliefs and attitudes in a broad sense. The latter are not then true or false. They reflect the personal and social life of the employee expressing them although these sentiments cannot help but interface with the substratum of prisoners, the so-called product of the organization. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Shades of Gray in Prison Administration


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.