Incorporate Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning is the cornerstone of implementing and sustaining the Correctional Industries Best Practices Model for Reentry. Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its direction, goals, and strategies, and making decisions on allocating resources pursuant to those strategies. Many organizations view strategic planning as a process for determining where an organization is going over the next year or more typically, 3 to 5 years.
In Correctional Industries (CI) having a strategic plan is vital. A strategic plan should clearly define goals and measurements to assess both the internal and external situations. Formulating a strategic plan, implementing the strategies, evaluating progress, and making adjustments as necessary will keep the CI’s purpose and direction on the right track.
A strategic plan includes having vision and mission statements that describe what you are doing and where you want to go. Best practices for Correctional Industries, indicate that the vision and mission include a focus on offender training and reentry, as well as the business aspects of the organization.
Your strategic plan for reentry should focus on two to three components contained in this Reentry-Focused Performance Excellence model.
Strategic planning is a very important business activity that can be highly effective when incorporated in Correctional Industries. No matter where your organization is in its development, it is always important to evaluate where it is currently, where you want it to be and when. Strategic Planning is the process used in setting goals that will help lead the organization to success.
A strategic plan is dynamic yet practical and serves as a guide to implementing programs, evaluating how these programs are doing, and making adjustments when necessary. A strategic plan reflects the needs of the organization and customers, and will integrate them with the organization's purpose, mission, and vision into a single document. The development of a plan requires much probing, discussion, and examination of the views of the leaders who are responsible for the plan's preparation. It is an excellent process in evaluating an organization and will provide a plan for incorporating best practices into daily practices.
The purpose of strategic planning is to assist Correctional Industries in establishing priorities that will better serve the needs of offenders, employees and stakeholders. Strategic planning will increase specificity in the Correctional Industries’ environment and develop a focus fully incorporating best practices for a re-entry based operation.
Determine the current state of your Correctional Industry.
In order to determine the future direction of the organization, it is necessary to understand its current position and the possible avenues through which it can pursue particular courses of action. This is harder than it looks. Some directors see their organization how they want it to be, not how it actually appears to others.
Generally, the strategic planning process starts with at least one of four key questions:
- What do we do?
- For whom do we do it?
- What do we want to look like?
- How do we excel?
For an accurate picture of your Correctional Industry, conduct external and internal analysis to get a clear understanding of your organization’s competencies. Reviews may include conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, as well as reviewing departmental goals/strategies, legislation, core values, stakeholder and customer feedback, etc. The review should include an analysis of the focus of each industry and its culture.
Identify what’s important.
Focus on where you want to take your organization over time. This sets the direction of the Correctional Industry over the long term and clearly defines the vision and mission of what your future organization should look like.
From this analysis, you can determine the priority issues—those issues so significant to the overall well-being of your Correctional Industry that they require the full and immediate attention of the entire management team. The strategic plan should focus on three to five key goals.Remember to include safety and security within CI operations, as they are critical to the sustainability of the CI program.
Define what you must achieve.
Define the expected goals that clearly state what the organization must achieve to address the identified priority issues. Review validated research and proven programs to help define objectives, strategies and performance measures. Define the what, how and when of data collection. Reach out to other agencies, universities and research institutes to determine data availability. Staff need to understand that Safety and Security are extremely important considerations in the CI operation. A balance must be achieved allowing for productive operations that help offenders train for jobs while maintaining a safe and secure environment. This is similar to private business, only with an elevated level of security due to the prison environment.
It is critical that CI management proactively plan for the safety and security of operations in the layout of new and existing programs. Staff should perform security systems’ checks on a random basis and be continually trained on CI-specific safety and security to avoid complacency and to support facility security.
Evaluate long-term sustainability.
Define the resources and budget necessary to continually fund efforts to achieve the goals. Evaluate revenue, reserve fund balance, future capital investments, ability to borrow money, ability to obtain grant funds, etc.
Determine who is accountable.
This is how to get to where you want to go. The strategies, action plans, and budgets are all steps in the process that effectively communicate how you will allocate time, human capital, and money to address the priority issues and achieve the defined goals and objectives. It is recommended that each goal is assigned to an individual or group to “champion” its progression.
Involve staff, offenders and stakeholders in the creation, implementation and progress of the strategic plan. Success towards goals will be difficult to achieve without the cooperation of these core groups.
Review. Review. Review.
To ensure the plan performs as designed, regularly scheduled formal reviews of performance measures must be completed. Review the process and refine as necessary. Champions should meet regularly; at least quarterly, to report on progress, barriers and successes. Progress should be reported to key stakeholders continually, but not less than annually. Clear and concise reporting can be accomplished through the use of “dashboards,” providing textual and visual summaries of key indicators.
Part of the strategic planning process and review should include security audits. Outcomes from periodic security audits can be described as a risk or vulnerability assessment that may be defined in this context as a determination of the likelihood of significant safety or security problems or vulnerabilities to injury, escape, disruption, or destruction of property because of the inadequacy of policy, procedure, and/or staff performance. Risk assessment is the process of determining the risk remaining after all the normal management and operational safeguards have been applied, including clarity of all instructional documents, training, and daily supervisory activities. For more information on security audits, see the NIC ‘Security Review’ document in the Resources section of this component.
- Obtain compliance verification in conjunction with your Department of Corrections or through external sources.
- Fiscal Audits
- Performance Audits
- Workforce Development Assessments
- HR Assessments
- PREA Audits
- PIE Assessments
- Security Audits
- Safety and Environmental Audits
- ACA Audits
- Other certification audits, i.e., ISO, Education
|Part of the strategic planning process and review should include security audits. Outcomes from periodic security audits can be described as a risk or vulnerability assessment that may be defined in this context as a determination of the likelihood of significant safety or security problems or vulnerabilities to injury, escape, disruption, or destruction of property because of the inadequacy of policy, procedure, and/or staff performance. Risk assessment is the process of determining the risk remaining after all the normal management and operational safeguards have been applied, including clarity of all instructional documents, training, and daily supervisory activities. For more information on security audits, see the NIC ‘Security Review’ document in the Resources section of this component.|
Identify key data sets to track, report and gauge success. Sample measurements include:
- Offender jobs available
- Recidivism rate for CI trained offenders at one and three years after release
- Offender certifications awarded
- Offender portfolio of accomplishments
- Offenders trained in soft-skill training programs
- Offenders receiving job readiness training
- Job readiness assessments conducted
- Offender referrals to business community
- Offenders securing employment within 90 days of release.
- Offenders retaining employment at 6 months
- Earnings received at 6 months after entry into employment
- Post release employment services
- Letters of reference issued
- Collection of restitution, room and board, victim’s funds, family support, etc.
- Employee satisfaction
- Community and State partnerships
- Customer satisfaction rates
- Customer complaints
- On-time deliveries
- Safety violations
- Employee training hours
- Offender training hours
Antonowicz, D.H., Ross, R. R. (1994). Essential components of successful rehabilitation programs for offenders. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 38 (2), 97-104.
Blanchard, K. (2009). Leading at a Higher Level: Blanchard on Leadership and Creating High Performing Organizations. Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press
Bradford, R., Duncan, P., Tarcy, B. (2000). Simplified Strategic Planning: A no-nonsense guide for busy people who want results fast! Worcester, MA: Chandler House Press.
Collins, J., Porras, J. (1994). Built to Last. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
David, F. R. (2009) Strategic Management (14th ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. (Dr. David also maintains a strategic planning web site, Checkmate Plan)
Flaherty, Carol and Zonis Associates. (2007). Building Culture Strategically: A Team Approach for Corrections. Available at https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.nicic.gov/Library/021749.pdf
Waal, A. A. (2010). The characteristics of a high performing organization. Business Strategy Series, 8 (3) 2010. Available at http://www.hpocenter.nl/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Business-Strategy-Series-2007-HPO.pdf
Washington State Institute for Public Policy. (2006). Evidence-Based Public Policy Options to Reduce Future Prison Construction, Criminal Justice Costs, and Crime Rates. Available at http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/ReportFile/952/Wsipp_Evidence-Based-Public-Policy-Options-to-Reduce-Future-Prison-Construction-Criminal-Justice-Costs-and-Crime-Rates_Full-Report.pdf
Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Performance Measures
The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program website. Subject matters: Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence
Council of Governors' Policy Advisors (CGPA):Produces reports on developing results-based accountability systems which specifically discuss development of strategic plans. To obtain information contact: CGPA, Hall of the States, 400 North Capitol Street, Suite 390, Washington, DC 20001-1511, tel: 202-624-5386, fax: 202-624-7846.
Various articles including, Achieving Performance Excellence (APEX), A Managers Primer for Ensuring Accountability, Program Planning and Design, Establishing Team Goals and Responsibilities, Goals and Setting Goals, Using Feedback to Improve Team Performance
Root Cause Analysis Webcast (Free)
U.S. Department of Justice Strategic Planning
Among the most widely used tools for strategic planning is SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). The main objective of this tool is to analyze internal strategic factors, strengths and weaknesses attributed to the organization, and external factors beyond control of the organization such as opportunities and threats.
ACA standards, an additional tool used in organizational analysis
Balanced Scorecards create a systematic framework for strategic planning.
Popular tools to display progress towards goals are Dashboards, or visual web graphics.
PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological)
Root Cause Analysis (RCA): Used to understand the threats, barriers, and challenges to achieving the end state.
Scenario planning: originally used in the military and recently used by large corporations to analyze future scenarios.
CI Models with Data to Support Success
North Carolina Correction Enterprises
Maryland Correctional Enterprises
Managing For Results