“Organizational Identities and Practical Reflection” Please respond to the following:Choose one of the following organizational identities; a metropolitan police force, a rural police force, a state prison system in a rural area, or a federal prison system in an urban area. Identify any social, economic, and other demographic and ecological factors that they are likely to encounter in their respective environments.Last week, you did research on position descriptions for the jobs at the Federal, state, local, and private-sector. This week, discuss some of the skills and abilities that you may need to acquire beyond your degree needed to acquire and progress in your selected position, and some ways to obtain those skills.Lectures attached.
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CRJ 499 Week 5, Chapter 3: Technology’s Influence on Decision-Making in
Welcome to Senior Seminar in Criminal Justice. In this
lesson, we will discuss technology’s influence on decisionmaking in criminal justice.
Upon completion of this lesson, you will be able to:
Consider technology and how it influences decision making.
The development and application of information
communication technology has a profound impact on the
operations of government and our personal lives. Although
optimists see the use of such technology as making
government function more effectively and efficiently, there
are concerns that technology will have similarly profound
impacts on individual privacy and security.
These forces affect the mission of the criminal justice system
and individual agencies, as well as its objectives, policies,
procedures, and day-to-day practices.
The final determinant, however, of the effectiveness and
efficiency of a system dominated by advanced information
gathering technology will be what we will refer to in this
week’s lesson as “environmental factors.”
Environmental forces will be explored in greater detail in the
next few slides. Also argued will be the often contradictory
directions that these forces pull different components of the
criminal justice system. Discussed also will be the impact
technology has at attempting to resolve those conflicts.
Technological advances continue at a remarkable rate. With
each passing day, it seems, technology makes possible what
seemed, in the not too distant past, almost unthinkable. Many
of these technological advances have applications in the field
of criminal justice. But before such applications can be put
into practice, it must withstand challenges from many forces
of the social environment. These include legal, political,
demographic, ecological, economic and cultural forces. Each
environmental force has its own agenda which may or may
not be at odds with the applications of technological advances
in criminal justice administration. How each affects the
technology available to you as a criminal justice professional
will be discussed briefly in upcoming slides.
and the Law
You may be aware from previous criminal justice classes that
laws that we live by come from several different sources.
These include statutory law, issuing forth from federal, state
and local legislatures, constitutional law stemming from the
United States and individual state constitutions, and case law
established by courts. Each of these sources of law have a
major impact into what technology may be used by the
criminal justice system, especially the law enforcement arm,
in carrying out its mission.
For example, technology has made possible the surveillance
of persons from great distances and through otherwise
impenetrable barriers such as walls and other obstacles.
Nonetheless, simply because such technology is available
does not mean that the criminal justice system may use it
indiscriminately. Constitutional rights of privacy,
certification by government agencies, and case law
interpreting how and when such technology may be used all
play an important role in limiting and governing the use of
technology by the criminal justice system.
Nonetheless, technology has been legally used in so many
ways which have made law enforcement more effective in
many areas. These include surveillance, forensics,
communication, monitoring, and identification just to name a
On the other hand, technology has also been used by criminals
to perpetrate much more sophisticated crimes which have
presented new challenges to criminal justice practitioners.
The availability of technology to criminal justice
organizations is also impacted by demographic factors.
Demographics can be defined as statistical data used to
identify, quantify, and categorize human populations by
These characteristics include race, wealth and income,
religious affiliation, national origin, population density, and
age to name a few. These characteristics determine the
demographic makeup of a particular area, and often, the
amount and types of crime plaguing it.
For example, suppose the majority of criminal activity is
carried out by males under the age of twenty-five. A
community with a high proportion of individuals under the
age of twenty-five will probably have a relatively high crime
rate. Large cities tend to have denser populations higher
levels of poverty. These factors also contribute to crime
A sudden influx or exodus of people creates a new set of
demographic characteristics within the community that can, in
turn, alter crime patterns.
The dilemma facing most urban areas is that, while they
experience higher levels of crime and have the greatest needs
for crime fighting technology, they are usually least able to
afford it. Meanwhile, wealthier and less densely populated
areas with little crime often have ample resources to combat
that which they encounter.
This dilemma is often resolved by a shifting of costs from
wealthier, safer areas of the country to crime-ridden cities
through reallocation of federal tax dollars by the United States
Congress, which is responsible for authorizing government
spending. Thus, through federal grants law enforcement
agencies receive much needed funds to hire new police
officers, build courts and prisons and purchase technology to
Political conditions can affect an organization through
pressures from constituents and clients, and indirectly through
The governmental response can be passed on to criminal
justice organizations in a number of ways. To focus on these
public agencies, governments can alter agency budgets,
change mandates, alter the composition of top administrative
personnel or write legislation that changes the purpose of
power base of a bureaucracy.
All of these have an impact on what technology is used and
how technology is used. As governments struggle with ever
evolving challenges, so too does the selection of technology
used by political decision-makers.
In Philadelphia, for example, City Councilman Michael
Nutter successfully ran for Mayor on a platform of reducing
violent handgun crime which plagued the city, making it the
most dangerous when compared to other cities in the area.
Citizens elected the new mayor by a landslide margin.
Immediately upon election, the new mayor selected a police
chief who was a proven innovator and ardent supporter of
using technology in his crime fighting efforts. The result was
an immediate purchase of hand-held communication devices
so that all police commanders could communicate instantly
and access crime mapping to identify problem areas and share
information. Additionally, the units most directly involved in
the fight against gun and drug violence received greater funds
to purchase surveillance and other technologies to accomplish
Ecological conditions include climate and geographical
location. These too affect how and what technology is used
by the criminal justice system. Particularly the law
enforcement arm. In northern cities, winter climates create
traffic hazards which require spending on technology which is
designed to function properly in adverse climates. It is likely
that such jurisdictions are apt to invest on air transport
technology as winter driving conditions worsen.
Mountainous, sparsely populated regions likely will focus on
GPS systems to aid in locating lost and stranded individuals.
You will likely see vehicles designed for traversing difficult
terrains in these areas.
On the other hand, heavily populated urban areas will likely
have law enforcement agencies which invest heavily in
motorcycle, bicycle, equestrian, Segway and camera
surveillance equipment in order to maneuver effectively
through their jurisdictions.
Coastal jurisdictions will likely use advanced marine
equipment, and so on and so forth.
As you can see, the types of climate and general ecological
conditions have an important effect on what technology is
employed and how it is used.
Culture can be defined briefly as the collective norms, values,
symbols, behaviors, and expectations of a society’s members.
Ultimately, a society’s political, economic and ecologic
system reflects its culture.
American culture is heterogeneous and dynamic. It is deeply
rooted on the principles of liberty and a live-and-let-live
philosophy. As a result, the technology used within the
criminal justice system must, at least in part, be used in a
manner which advances those ideals. It is not uncommon for
individuals to protest the use of highly sophisticated
technology which encroaches on a person’s perceived right to
live free of governmental intrusion through excessive
monitoring of daily activities.
On the other hand, people want to be protected from those
that wish to do them harm and welcome technological
advances that contribute to a sense of peace and security in
As a result, advanced personal security systems, home alarms
and anti-theft devices are big business. Surveillance cameras
in public and commercial areas are also accepted as a
There is perhaps no more significant example of how cultural
conditions impact the criminal justice system than the
prohibition. When, in the early part of the twentieth century,
alcoholic beverages were banned in this country, criminal
justice systems, despite possessing the technology and
resources to apprehend and incarcerate those partaking of the
newly banned substance were, instead, allowed to operate
speakeasies to market beer and liquor openly. Hence the
power of cultural conditions had a significant impact on how,
where and when the criminal justice system would employ its
resources at addressing this type of crime.
As resources available to criminal justice organizations limit
the numbers and scope of these bureaucracies, so too does it
limit the extent to which it can purchase and implement
technological tools. We touched earlier on how larger urban
jurisdictions are challenged with allocating a limited number
of resources to a great quantity of needs. But other external
conditions may affect how much criminal justice
organizations can partake in the technologies available. In
many cases, it is ultimately the federal and state governments
which dictate who will enjoy the most advanced technological
resources and the funds for these are usually distributed
according to need. If these governmental officials feel other
pressing matters, such as local states of emergency, war, or
other societal problems require priority attention, then
criminal justice organizations are forced to either make do
with what they have or seek out other means to raise funds for
Economic conditions also impact the criminal justice system
in other ways. Wealthier municipalities are not always the
most prepared to fight crime as, despite the ability to afford
technological resources, it is not expended since there is often
less of a perceived need to allocate resources in that direction.
In some instances, sophisticated criminal organizations take
advantage of this to operate in locations where their
operations might remain undetected.
The organizational response to the environment is often
determined by the accuracy and reliability of the information
the organization receives.
The three greatest challenges to effective implementation of
criminal justice technology to the environment are:
One. A lack of information about environmental factors
important to decision making.
Two. An inability to estimate how probabilities will affect a
decision until it is implemented.
And three. A lack of information about the cost associated
with an incorrect decision.
In each case, the greater the accuracy and reliability of
information collected by criminal justice organizations prior
to decision making, the greater the probability that the proper
selection of technological resources will occur.
To this end, law enforcement organizations have adopted a
scientific approach to data collection. This movement is often
referred to as intelligence-led policing. A major component
of intelligence led policing is a system first developed in
nineteen ninety four by the New York City Police Department
under then police commissioner William Bratton and Deputy
Commissioner Jack Maple called Compstat which is an
acronym for a system known alternately by either Computer
Statistics or Comparative Statistics. Bratton and Maple
modified conventional community policing ideology after
realizing that, to reduce crime and respond to communities’
needs, many operational decisions should be made by
commanders at the precinct or district level. By collecting
data most relevant to local needs, they reasoned, local
commanders could tailor the application of law enforcement
technology to those issues most pressing. One criticism of the
Compstat approach to law enforcement is that there is greater
likelihood that a law enforcement organization, especially a
larger one, will become decoupled.
To add to the issue of uncertainty, large organizations tend to
become decoupled, that is, face multiple environments and
interact with each environment at different organizational
levels. To complicate matters further, an environment may
have two or more sub-environments to which an agency must
We can understand this concept by looking outward from
organizations as they interact with the environment. Large
organizations tend to break into overlapping subgroups known
as the dominant coalition and the work processors. The
perception of the most appropriate use and application of
technology often differs considerably between the two.
The dominant coalition is the small group of employees who
oversee the organization and dictate policy decisions. The
work processors are the bulk of the organization’s members,
who are directly involved with its primary clientele. Each
subgroup faces different demands and pressures from
different sources. Members of the dominant coalition interact
with the political-legal system, administrators of related
organizations, organized support and opposition groups, and
the news media. They typically become the focal point of
The work processors, in contrast, deal directly with agency
clientele and deliver services to them. In large systems, work
processors become “street level bureaucrats” who negotiate
rules for the allocation of scarce agency resources including
technology they feel would serve them best based on their
front line perspective.
In decoupled organizations, however, a unique set of
problems arises. Cues, pressures, and constraints that the
dominant coalition faces may be profoundly different from
those faced by members of the work process group.
We have discussed environmental forces at length and how
they impact choices associated with selecting the right
technology and other resources to effectively carry out the
mission of a criminal justice organization. Ultimately, it will
be the responsibility of top level administrators to make the
right decisions as to how resources are to be allocated in order
to equip the work processors with the right tools and
technology to effectively do their job.
The role of management, therefore, is to mitigate the
uncertainty imposed by the agency’s institutional role and
increase the certainty needed by the agency’s technical core.
The right technology goes a long way toward this objective.
An organization must, on one hand, choose the right
technology to allow it to survive and maintain some sense of
internal stability and protect its established routines in order to
deliver services successfully.
On the other hand, it must provide services by means that are
congruent with community preferences. Although,
organizations members may make decisions about what
constitutes appropriate services, environmental constituents
ultimately judge the value of an organization’s technological
value and outputs.
We have now reached the end of this lesson. Let’s take a look
at what we’ve covered.
First, we discussed the development and application of
information communication technology has a profound
impact on the operations of government and our personal
Next, we identified technology’s impact on criminal justice is
shaped by at least six environmental forces. They include:
Economic Conditions; and
Then, we examined the three greatest challenges to effective
implementation of criminal justice technology to the
A lack of information about environmental factors important
to decision making;
An inability to estimate how probabilities will affect a
decision until it is implemented; and
A lack of information about the cost associated with an
Finally, we learned that large organizations tend to become
decoupled, that is, face multiple environments and interact
with each environment at different organizational levels. To
complicate matters further, an environment may have two or
more sub-environments to which an agency must respond
Senior Seminar in Criminal
Technology’s Influence on
Decision-Making in Criminal
Stojkovic, S., Kalinich, D. & Klofas, J. (2008). Criminal
Justice Organizations: Administration and Management. (4th
Ed.), Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Upon completion of this lesson, you will
be able to:
– Consider technology and how it influences
Technology’s Impact on
– Contribute to effectiveness and efficiency
– Impact individual privacy and security
Ultimately, effectiveness of any
technology will be determined by how
well it deals with external environmental
Technology moves forwards at a
Effectiveness is determined by how it
overcomes environmental factors such
Technology and the Law
Three sources of law:
Laws may limit the uses of technology
Surveillance – Monitoring
Forensics – Identification – Communication
Criminals also make use of technology
Statistical data used to identify, quantify, and
categorize human populations by various
• Wealth and income
• Religious affiliation
• National Origin
• Population density
Dilemma: poorest areas have greatest need
for criminal justice resources
Wealthiest areas have least need but greatest
Corrected through governmental cost shifting
Technology and Political
Politics affect criminal justice
– Altering agency budgets
– Changing Mandates
– Altering composition of top administrative
Example: Newly elected officials select
new administrative personnel to
accomplish their agenda
Technology and Ecological
Technological applications affected by
climate and geographic location
Northern Cities: winter equipment
Mountainous regions: air transport
Urban areas: motorcycle, bike,
equistiran, Segway, street cameras
Coastal: marine equipment
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