Clearly, prison offenses and punishment practices have subjective aspects. Thus, the human elements involved in offense determination and imposition of punishments become very important. This chapter will deal with the authority, selection, background, and training of those who determine.
Research into the qualifications of prison personnel is a difficult matter, particularly in a work of this type where the information is to be used for limited purposes. First hand information in both Britain and the United States is not easy to obtain and, even if available, is dated or becomes dated very quickly. Fortunately, in Britain there has been unprecedented recent interest in the personnel involved in adjudications. That interest produced four important studies--two official and two unofficial--focusing attention on the selection, background, and training of the determiners. Those studies are contained in the Home Office's Report of the Working Party on Adjudication Procedures in Prisons;1 the report of a committee set up by Justice, the Howard League for Penal Reform, and the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders entitled Boards of Visitors of Penal Institutions (the "Jellicoe Committee Report");2 Professor Gordon Borrie's report of a study by the Institute of Judicial Administration at the University of Birmingham entitled The Membership of Boards of Visitors of Penal Establishments3--The Report of the Committee of Inquiry into The United Kingdom Prison Services (the "May Committee Report").4
In the United States the difficulties of research are complicated by the multiplicity of jurisdictions. The many jurisdictions are not at all uniform in selection and training of personnel. In Britain, or at least in England, the chief impediment is lack of official cooperation. This writer did manage to obtain some materials from the Home Office on staff recruitment and training. Indeed, this writer's acquisition is rather astonishing since the Home Office is not noted for openness in providing operational information. For example, the Institute of Judicial Administration could not even obtain access to the list of Boards of Visitors members--an important but seemingly harmless piece of information for their work.5 The Jellicoe Committee also had limited access to the boards, particularly regarding adjudications.6
If we regard discipline as a part of the overall morale and atmosphere of a confinement facility, probably the most important figure in the maintenance of discipline is the uniformed officer who deals with the prisoners on a daily basis, and attempts to control their conduct through reason, persuasion, or otherwise. Equally important, and in some cases more important, may be the professional