Correctional Services

New book by John Shuford

Mid 21st Century Criminal Justice: Transforming Work Culture

Much has been written about the problems within our criminal justice system, both law enforcement and corrections, but never before has that been presented along with the causes of those problems and specific strategies to correct them. This unique and remarkable book, based on Shuford’s 30 years of experience, is a must read for criminal justice policy makers, leadership, supervisors as well as educators in preparing students for careers in criminal justice. This content packed text will lead the reader from research based consequences of criminal justice employee stress through an analysis of neurological and cultural variables that contribute to that stress to comprehensive yet precisely designed strategies for change and how to apply them. It is a practical guide for criminal justice leadership, training academies; and educators will find it an invaluable supplemental text for advanced policing and corrections courses and criminal justice administration and management courses. It is about time that the criminal justice field had such a resource to carry it into the 21st century.

This book should be included in any curriculum in Criminal Justice Studies. It describes dysfunctional culture within the prison system and documents the damage this culture inflicts on the health of prison employees. More importantly, it provides a vision for a more healthy culture of prison administration, and draws on the author’s three decades of experience providing workshops in prisons to lay out a path for culture change and transformation of the prison system. It is a valuable resource for those preparing for criminal justice work, for current supervisors and other criminal justice employees, and for policy makers.

Vernie Davis

Professor Emeritus of Cultural Anthropology and Peace & Conflict Studies and Former Director Conflict Resolution Resource Center, Guilford College

The psychological and physical health needs of Criminal Justice staff beyond the necessary but not sufficient “going home safe at the end of the shift” is finally receiving the attention it deserves. Agency training catalogues, selection and promotion processes, and employee cultures are under the wellness microscope in many locations. If you work in one of those jurisdictions or would like to pave the way for such an initiative, this text is a must. In this content packed text, the reader will be led from research-based consequences of criminal justice employee stress through an analysis of both the neurological and cultural variables that contribute to that stress to a comprehensive yet precisely designed strategy for change, which John has developed during his 30-year career. You will find powerful descriptions of not just what strategies to use, but how to apply them, and what behavioral and psychological principles they address.

Gregory Morton, M.Sc

Administrator of Staff Training and Professional Development (Retd.), Oregon Department of Corrections

Awesome work, law enforcement leaders and BLET instructors should read. What is clear, we must train today’s generation of employees differently. This book highlights the need for law enforcement training in effective communication and interpersonal skills, which are crucial in today’s climate. The tried-and-true para-military instruction has its place, but there is a difference between training soldiers and officers. The military is focused on killing the enemy, but in law enforcement there is no enemy, just one human engaging with another human. The theme of human engaging type training presented in this book will benefit law enforcement into the next century. John supports that need to change as we prepare our future officers and leaders of law enforcement.

B.J. Council

Deputy Police Chief (Ret), Owner, You & Five-O, LLC, Durham NC

It is excellent, right on target! A practical guide for leadership with some very real and true real world examples that can be understood at any level. Changing the work culture is so very important, equally as important as improving pay and benefits that many seem to be continually focused on as the only need.…..but without the culture improvements agencies will continue to struggle with turnover and the poor health and life expectancy of staff despite pay improvements.

Tim Moose

Chief Deputy Secretary , NC Department of Public Safety, Adult Correction & Juvenile Justice

Mid-21st Century Criminal Justice: Transforming the Work Culture is an essential read for both law enforcement and correctional executives if they want to implement proven strategies to retain talented staff. For educators, it is also a useful supplemental text for an advanced policing or corrections course or a criminal justice administration and management course. Shuford first focuses on why traditional work cultures in policing and corrections are problematic and then provides tangible and actionable solutions to reform work culture to improve morale. A supplemental text that incorporates practical application is a welcome addition for courses that examine management, administration, and leadership in policing and correctional contexts. 

Dr. Heidi S. Bonner

Director, Criminal Justice Department, East Carolina University

This book provides a comprehensive look at the systemic problems inherent in law enforcement agencies. What I found unique and remarkable is that the book also offers ways to change the culture to make it work more effectively.

As a trauma therapist, I know how important it is to address the psychological issues that emerge with  staff who are in a constant state of stress. There are programs that deal with the trauma experienced by the inmates; however little has been done concerning staff.

I have worked with John doing trauma related activities in a prison and I have seen how effective John’s experiential program has been.  To truly understand the necessary changes needed in the system, one must understand trauma. This book provides the history of trauma, how it remains in the cells of one’s body and the impact of trauma on not just a person, but the family and community outside of the job. It is easy to talk about what is wrong, harder to give examples of how the system can be improved.

John Shuford’s book would be helpful as a resource to criminal justice students, supervisory staff in law enforcement and those working with the impact of trauma. It is filled with examples and provides a realistic guide in ways to deal with the trauma of working in a nonsupportive, outdated system. 

Elinor H. Brody MSS, LCSW

Australian Interview with John on Trauma From the Front Line

John was interviewed by Bruce Perham on his podcast program “Trauma From the Front Line” which is a podcast series directed at correctional officers and frontline responders to provide them with access to a wide range of psychologists working in the trauma fields, key stakeholders in the emergency sector and individuals willing to share their experiences of trauma in the delivering of their frontline occupations. The focus is educational and the goal is to encourage people to be proactive in managing their own mental health and for people who need help to find the pathway to achieving it.

Correctional Services Staff Development Training

If you motivate staff, they will lead the way and it will bring out the best in them and the organization
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Does Your Organization Suffer
from a Negative Work Culture?

  • Low morale
  • Excessive use of force
  • High assault rates
  • Sick leave abuse
  • Corruption
  • Staff call-outs/no-shows
  • Departments not cooperating
  • Staff grievances
  • Lack of teamwork
  • Staff conflicts
  • Dirty Staff
  • Poor staff retention
  • High turnover
  • Poor supervisor training
  • Resistance to proposed changes
  • Undermining Academy training

Addressing these problem areas without addressing the underlying working culture is a short-term symptom relief approach.

It is unsustainable.

CRS is here to help you better understand your existing culture so you can take steps to improve it.

Teambuilding Attitude Conflict Transformation (TACT) Training

An energizing, empowering and enjoyable 3-day training that improves participants attitudes about themselves, their jobs and their co-workers, relations with other departments and the organization as a whole. Participants develop hope for positive change in the working culture and learn attitude and interpersonal skills that are personally transformational. They value the training and what they have learned and appreciate the organization giving them an opportunity to experience it. The greater the diversity of participants, the more the organization will benefit.

Effective Supervisor Training (EST)

Supervisors are often oriented to the tasks of supervision but not to being an effective supervisor. The leadership qualities of understanding self, the various styles of supervision, what motivates staff and how to motivate, engage and empower them as well as a special section on mediating conflicts on the job. Supervisors and staff have commented on how transformative the EST training is. It’s benefit will be enhanced when experienced after the TACT training.

Teambuilding Attitude De-escalation (TAD) Training

The focus of this training is de-escalating violent or potentially violent situations. Interpersonal skills and strategies are learned for understanding, preventing and de-escalating on-the-job conflicts. Understanding anger, its source and tools for defusing it in others are important for ensuring a safe work setting. Not only are valuable interpersonal communication skills taught, but also tools that draw on the wealth of experience of the participants themselves.

Anger Management Training (AMT)

This training has often been used for employees who have anger issues. It is a more concentrated training than the TACT training and best experienced after the TACT training. When staff carry a lot of anger, it turns into toxic resentment. This training gives participants the tools and experience to release this resentment, resulting in a transformation of attitude often significantly improving job performance.

Mediation Training

This training is a ground-up training, beginning with basic interpersonal communication skills, conflict management skills and leading up to mediation skills. There is ample practice at being a mediator. The training is a combination of the Immersive Experiential Training Methodology and the mediation training from the Center for Resolutions in Media, Pennsylvania. Participants will learn basic mediation skills and be able to mediate disputes on the job.

What Participants and their Supervisors Say

Director of Treatment, OCCC, Massachusetts DOC

The training was FABULOUS. Thought provoking, fun interactive, introspective, and it also created an opportunity to get to know some folks who you see everyday but don’t commonly interact with. I advocate for this program for all staff as it truly was a great experience with some valuable lessons learned.

Director of Treatment, OCCC, Massachusetts Department of Corrections

New Jersey DOC Training Academy Director

I am constantly amazed at the transformation our staff exepriences during your training sessions. There is actually a paradigm shift from rigidity and inflexibility ingrained in Corrections, to the understanding and acceptance of the value of community and teamwork. There can be no greater compliment or validation of the effectiveness of the training program.

Training Academy Director, New Jersey Department of Corrections

Philadelphia Prison Captain

I personally have seen a major difference in the way staff perceive themselves, the way they interact with on another and the way they interact with support staff, whether they be social service or maintenance. Also, the rate of sick abuse or not coming to work has dropped and the overall attitude of the workplace has improved.

Captain, Philadelphia Prison System

The Evidence

Long-term Impact

The changes experienced by staff are not short-term. Philadelphia Prison System staff stated they were still using the skills six months after the training: 82% on the job and 85% off the job.

Transforming the Workplace

When the New Jersey staff came to observe the TACT training in Philadelphia, the NJ training academy was experiencing so much internal conflict there were plans on the books to transfer most of the staff. What they saw convinced them that TACT would be worth doing. After the TACT training, the situation improved so much that no-one was transferred.

Making the Workplace Safer

The North Carolina Department of Safety recognizes the benefit of TACT training for their staff. Ultimately, it makes the facility actually run more safely.