ACA, PERF Develop Training on Multicultural Awareness

Article excerpt

The need for multicultural sensitivity in criminal justice settings is the subject of study and training in a grant project undertaken by ACA and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Titled Cultural Differences for Law Enforcement/Juvenile Justice Officials, the grant was originally awarded in October 1991 and has been extended through 1994. The grant's primary objective is to fund the development of a training curriculum in cultural differences for law enforcement and juvenile justice practitioners. The training package will include:

* an instructor's manual containing a training-of-trainers component and four training modules;

* a participant manual and an action plan; and

* a training video.

The project is being conducted by ACA and PERF staff with assistance from an advisory board of experienced practitioners.

First Phase

During the first grant period--October 1991 to September 1992--two tasks were achieved: (1) a combined literature search and curriculum inventory of material on cultural differences and (2) the development of a workshop that could be used nationwide.

Search and survey. The literature search provided a solid base for understanding the scope of cultural differences. ACA compiled the findings into a preliminary report and distributed it to law enforcement and juvenile justice practitioners in September 1992. In addition, grant staff sent a survey to 734 law enforcement agencies to determine their practices and needs in cultural differences orientation. Staff also asked them to provide copies of current curricula being used to train officers. The survey uncovered a tremendous need for cultural differences training to address the issues of race, ethnicity, culture and gender.

Workshop. With information gathered from the search and survey, project staff began to develop a multicultural training workshop. In February 1992, the grant's advisory board met to generate ideas and decide how a curriculum should be developed and presented. Because of the difficulties in developing a training package to serve both law enforcement and juvenile justice, staff decided to develop a general curriculum with job-specific appendices. Each appendix includes job-related examples and exercises for law enforcement, juvenile courts, juvenile institutions, and community and after-care programs. This makes the curriculum flexible and allows trainers to orient material to specific audiences. The package also includes a training-of-trainers component. Because corrections agencies have great constraints on their time, project staff decided to make the training package into an eight-hour session, with the option of dividing training into segments.

Training Package Divisions

The training consists of a train-the-trainer component and four modules.

Training of Trainers Component. This section is intended to help trainers shape their individual training programs by giving consideration to the specific geographic and professional groups to whom they are directing their training. …