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.

Training Law Enforcement in Emotional Intelligence

A number of progressive administrators and policy makers realize the importance of teaching emotional intelligence skills to police officers. This is because, as studies have shown, an officer’s job is only 5% apprehending suspects and the rest involves report writing, investigations and interacting with the public.

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Transforming Police Culture

Many say we have a serious police problem in America. But, this is not true. Our police are doing what we have asked of them, even though they are neither trained nor equipped to perform many of those tasks.

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Immersive Experiential Staff Development Training: The Need and Proven Benefit in Corrections

The security and safety of any correctional facility is directly and inextricably linked to the health and maturity of its internal working culture. The culture of a facility describes how staff interact with each other, with inmates, with outside people, etc. The more mature the internal culture, the higher the morale, productivity, creativity, teamwork [trust and cooperation], communication and institutional control.

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Teambuilding Attitude Conflict Transformation [TACT] Training and Neuroscience

To understand the process by which the immersive-experiential methodology impacts attitude, it may be helpful to explain how the brain works [as we understand it today] and how attitudes are developed. An external [or internal] event or stimulus occurs and the brain first processes it subconsciously in the amygdala, our fight-flight-freeze center, which determines if there is danger.

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Changing Prison Culture; TACT and AVP

One training design has proven itself with staff development training as well as inmate rehabilitation; it is the Attitude Transformation Model Training. Research proven, this model has been shown to be effective in a number of prison systems. The rationale for its success and examples of its impact are reviewed in this article.

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Criminogenic Risk Factors and AVP

The Alternatives to Violence Project [AVP] has been very effective at changing attitudes and behaviors, reducing anger, increasing empathy and reducing recidivism. Focusing on this last outcome, reducing recidivism, it is generally accepted that there are nine criminogenic risk factors that are predictors of recidivism.

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Pennsylvania DOC Parole Outcome Study

The Pennsylvania Department of Correction’s (PA DOC) did a Parole Violator Study. The study showed the critical importance of pro-social/emotional intelligence skills for successful re-entry. The Immersive-Experiential © training design has proven very effective as an Emotional Intelligence inoculation.

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Suicide is not a Personal Defect, it is a Community Failure; We Can Make a Difference

Officer suicides, both law enforcement and corrections, have received a lot of attention. They are consistently near the top of the list of professions with high suicide rates (Frost, 2021, p.1). Any suicide is traumatic to those close to the person, but it is especially traumatic in a profession where the members’ identity is so closely tied to the profession itself. Twice as many police officers are lost to suicide than die from gunshot or traffic accidents combined (Heyman, 2018), and the Center for Disease Control reported that police have a 69% greater risk of suicide than the general working population (Territo, 2019, p.197). 

Corrections Today: Emotional Intelligence

Corrections Today: Emotional Intelligence Training in Corrections

How important is emotional intelligence training? It is probably the most important training staff can get. Without it, corrections as we know it  is unsustainable. We are losing staff quicker than we can train and staff wellbeing may be at an all-time low. Emotional...
Correctional Trainer - Summer 2022

The Correctional Trainer: The 4 E’s of Transformational Trainings, Part II

In the first part of this two-part article, we introduced the 4 E’s model of training design: Engage, Energize, Empower, and Enjoy. The Immersive Experiential training model uses the principle of 4 E’s with its emotional intelligence training. The foundation of...

The Correctional Trainer: The 4 E’s of Transformational Trainings, Part I

It is very frustrating to realize there is a need for change, but not know how to make those changes happen. We are losing more staff than we are gaining. Not only that, but we have unacceptably high rates of stress, PTSD, depression, divorce, heart attacks, not to...

American Jails: Correctional Career Survival Skills, Part 1

Staff turnover is a major concern for corrections leadership in both prisons and jails. In many states, it is at crisis levels. Some institutions have vacancy
rates more than 40% and turnover rates of more than 50%. Much of this turnover rate is among the new hires; many of whom don’t last beyond the first year. Of equal concern is the loss of staff with service of 8 to 10 years and more.

American Jails: Correctional Career Survival Skills, Part 2

Staff turnover is a major concern for corrections leadership in both prisons and jails. If it is to be reduced, the work culture needs
to become less toxic and the effects of unhealed trauma and chronic stress must be healed in individual staff. In addition, the leadership needs to provide their staff with the resilience tools that can enable them to remain on the job until retirement.

IACTP The Correctional Trainer: Emotional Intelligence Training

Many in the field of corrections realize the importance of emotional intelligence. It is what is missing in traditional staff training programs. Without it, we experience high staff turnover, low morale and many physical and psychological problems; including heart attacks, high blood pressure, suicide ideation, PTSD, depression and anxiety.

American Jails: Are We Training Our Staff to Fail?

The security and safety of any correctional facility are directly and inextricably linked to the health and maturity of its internal working culture. The culture of a facility describes how staff interact with each other, with inmates, with outside people, etc. The more mature the internal culture, the higher the morale, productivity, creativity, teamwork [trust and cooperation], communication, and institutional control.

The Correctional Trainer: Are We Training Our Staff to Fail: Revisioning Staff Training

Staff orientation and inservice training have greatly improved in recent years; eLearning and cognitive behavior intervention training have been an important part of this. Yet, we are still experiencing a crippling situation with high turnover and staff burnout. Staff report leaving their positions mainly because of issues with other staff, poor supervisors and a feeling management cares more about filling positions than about staff well-being.

The Correctional Trainer: The Community Building Experiential Training Model

Just as with individuals, organizations grow and mature. An organization in which people feel disconnected from each other in immature. Whereas, an organization where people and departments feel connected with a high level of trust and cooperation can be described as mature.