Conflict management and conflict resolution in correclions, second edition,.

Position:Bookshelf - Book review

Prisons and jails are places of conflict by the very nature of their existences. The inmates generally do not want to be confined for any number of reasons. Thus, the result is the conflict, which is by nature established between those kept and those who keep. This same conflict exists in community corrections. In fact, the "freedom" of community corrections may exasperate conflict. Thomas F. Christian's primer Conflict Management and Conflict Resolution in Corrections, Second Edition is written in easy-to-read, short chapters, and provides good practice tips to all of those working in corrections on how to manage conflict.

Additionally,the primer outlines how restorative justice techniques can be used in corrections to not only resolve conflict, but to achieve resolution. As an example of restorative justice,Christian explains that juveniles who may have received a petition for vandalism can meet in a restorative justice session with a juvenile court counselor or probation officer to come to a satisfactory resolution prior to appearing in court. Another example might include the development of a payment schedule for restitution in the institutional setting. It might be a correctional supervisor bringing in two offenders who demonstrate amity toward each other in an attempt to resolve the issues before they exasperate. Restorative justice techniques have great promise in helping to resolve conflict and maintain social control, but there will need to be a concerted effort to "teach" corrections professionals,especially correctional officers,how the use of such techniques can make an institution safer.

There are a couple of chapters in the book meriting special attention. The chapter entitled "Cooperation and Collaboration, the Key Ingredients in Corrections" could be written about any organization, but it is especially meaningful in corrections. Christian discusses Denis Waitley's concept of the double win, which was initially referenced in The Winner's Edge.' The double win occurs when a conflict between both parties is resolved with a resolution that is satisfactory for both parties--a compromise. Nowhere should this concept be practiced more than in corrections. For offenders, conflict resolution is a matter of not losing face and maintaining respect. For professionals, conflict resolution is a matter of maintaining control and/or contributing to positive pro-social behavior. The "losing" by either party alienates one or both parties...

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