University of Tasmania
whole_PatersonWilliamCross1998_thesis.pdf (20.62 MB)

Victoria's prison policy 1851-1992 : from hulks to unit management

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posted on 2023-05-27, 16:26 authored by Paterson, WC
The changing emphasis on the nature_ of imprisonment and the introduction of new prisoner management strategies has raised several important issues:- can prisoner management strategies be imported and implemented into an entire prison system without evaluation and trial? does the proposed prisoner management strategy require a different operational philosophy?; have prison policy-makers a framework to prepare future or analyse previous policies?; and do prison officers require a different type of training whenever a new prisoner management strategy is introduced? This thesis examines Victoria's decision to implement a new prisoner management strategy, which had been developed in the United States of America. Prior to this decision Victoria's prison policy was designed around the custody and control model of imprisonment. Traditionally changes to prison routine were simply incremental and had little implication for traditional prisoner/prison officer interactions. For example, Victoria's prison officer training was designed and developed to maintain order and most training courses highlighted the custodial aspects of prison officer work. The origins of current prison policy-making are to be found in the 1970s emphasis on 'openness' and accountability of prison operations. Prior to this, the system's senior penal administrator largely determined prison policy-making. Since the 1970s, however, prison policy-making has become a specialised function. Indeed, many prison organisations have policy-making units. The old custody and control models are of little use to contemporaty prison policy-makers. They have to develop new policies to match changes in prison routine and function. When Victoria made the decision to implement the prisoner management strategy - unit management, it not only had a new government committed to prison reform, but also was in the process of creating a separate department of corrections. Departmental policy-makers had to respond to a multiplicity of demands to cover all aspects of the departmental activities. This thesis examines Victoria's prison officer training practices in relation to the implementation of unit management. This strategy was premised upon a climatic change in the traditional prison officer/prisoner interactions. Purpose-designed prisons were to be built to facilitate unit management. Prison officers and prisoners would no longer be physically separated as had been the practice in traditional prisons but would be together in small units, which would have limited decision-making abilities. The prison officers' roles were expanded. They were now expected to take on other duties such as counselling and be prisoners' case-managers. Changes in training strategies to meet these changes could have been expected but apart from some cursory attempts at lecturing course participants on the advantages of unit management and producing a handbook for operational use, prison officer training remained custodial. As a result prison officers gave lip service to the operation of unit management and traditional practices returned.


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Copyright 1997 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1998. Includes bibliographical references

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