The Management of Change in Prisons

Toward a Process of Postmodern Systems Thinking
  • Catherine Gaskell


Her Majesty’s Prison Service is an integral part of the wider criminal justice system, striving to “serve the public by keeping in custody those committed to the courts” (Home Office, 1993). Whilst the relationship to this wider system must always be kept in mind, it should be acknowledged that the Prison Service functions as a system in its own right, consisting of more than 130 establishments. In turn, these individual prisons function systemically both internally and in relation to the wider Prison Service. It is becoming more and more important to ensure that the Prison Service as a whole is structured in terms of systems, one reason being that communication is the key to the realisation of major objectives. Communication links have to be extended not only at establishment level but throughout the whole of society in England and Wales; this is partly due to the degree of accountability which the Service has to ensure to the government and the public. The organisational values of many prisons today stress the importance of systems thinking in assisting communication and ultimately ensuring that Prison Service objectives are met. In practice of course, it is often difficult for the Service and its establishments to operate in a truly systemic way. This is thought to be due to the nature of its business and ‘clientele’, problems of security and the general sense of secrecy which surrounds the concept of ‘the prison’.


System Methodology Prison System Prison Officer Management Methodology Cultural Logic 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Gaskell
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computing and Information SystemsUniversity of HumbersideHullUK

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