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Handling and Managing Resistance

The case:

You have been asked by the State Corrections Office to implement a reform program in the local Juvenile Corrections Facility. The head of the facility is Louis Jackson, an African-American corrections officer who has risen in the ranks from being a prison guard, and through in-service training and a good work record has reached the position of warden. Mr. Jackson realizes that his facility needs help in reducing recidivism and violence inside the center, especially in recognizing the roots of the violence. He senses that the problem lies in the mental health of the staff and inmates, and perhaps in the way they relate to each other. Many members of his staff think that Mr. Jackson is taking a too soft approach and what is needed is stronger penalties and stricter enforcement of existing rules.

What kind of resistance can be expected from each group?
Is there a method of handling and managing the resistance?

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Solution Preview

In a situation of this nature, the kind of resistance that can be expected from the staff includes the egotistical or pride-based resistance to having to soften their approach to inmates, due to the fact that these individuals overwhelmingly seem to believe that they have authority over the inmates, and that they should not have to seek to compromise with inmates in order to have the inmates do what the staff want them to do. In addition, the staff members will also resist ...