Sociology 375 Final Exam, Essay Example

Question 1: One of the misconceptions about working in the criminal justice sector is that the role of the police and the court system is to catch criminals and incarcerate them. Describe and discuss the different roles that have come from the class and course materials. What types of strains and conflict might that cause for the SLB’s in the justice system?

The rise in prevalence of community policing, and the development of the drug court system both serve as examples of ways that the reach of the criminal justice sector extends beyond merely catching and incarcerating criminals. Although the police do, of course, still catch criminals, community policing programs are, at their core, intended to help prevent crimes from occurring in the first place.

The drug court systems, and other diversionary programs such as the Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI) initiative, are similar to community policing in that they operate outside of the typical mode of incarcerating convicts. As one of the films about Drug Courts noted, the clients have already entered a guilty plea, which avoids the cost of a trial. If they fail in drug court they (typically) go to jail; if they succeed, they avoid the costs to the state –and to society- of incarceration.

SLBs are still constrained by the policies that define these programs, and are responsible for ensuring that such programs are effective. Even when they are effective (and save money) some are still threatened with cuts, which places the SLB in the difficult position between the makers and the recipients of public policy.

 Question 2: According to Lipsky, “The politics of the larger society affect street level bureaucracies and their dynamic relationship between the requirements of providing services and their perceived costs.” (182)  Based on the presentation by guest speaker Deanna Cada and using the handout on Redeploy Illinois, explain Lipsky’s statement.

SLBs function in the intersection between public policy and the actual public. Politics can and does influence policy but it is not always easy to make policy work on a practical level. When the public is concerned about crime, for example, politicians may court votes by showing that they are “tough on crime.” But being tough on crime costs money, as it is expensive to house people in prisons. The Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI) program is an example of a policy that is designed to bridge the gap between policy and practicality, by diverting non-violent offenders from lengthy prison sentences. There are constant pressures being exerted by the public’s interest in effective policy and its interest in limiting costs. ARI is the type of program that successfully balances such competing forces.

Question 3: the last class session we reviewed the Drug Court model of problem solving courts. How does the Drug Court model resemble Lipsky’s idea that SLB’s interact in settings that symbolize, reinforce and limit the relationship with clients.  How is it different?  Provide examples comparing the similarities and differences.

Lipsky uses the courtroom setting as his first example of how SLB interaction with clients symbolizes, reinforces, and limits the relationship between them. Everything about the courtroom is structured to reinforce the roles played by SLBs (who have authority) and clients (who are both physically and psychologically separated from the judges and prosecutors, and who often do nothing but observe as all the decisions are made for them by other people.

Drug courts still adhere to many of the same physical and psychological structures, but they allow the SLBs and the clients to interact at a deeper and more transactional level. The example of SLBs “applauding” the success of a drug court client shows how different the interaction can be in the drug court setting. It also demonstrates that, at least in some contexts, when SLBs are given greater flexibility and autonomy, they can achieve greater results (while also saving money in the process).

Question 4: Sutton states that it is important for organizational leaders to make the “No Asshole Rule” a way of life and had summarized seven rules to manage assholes. List and discuss the key components of at least five of Sutton’s rules of “No Asshole Rule as a way of life.” 

The most important rule is to understand why to have it in the first place: just one, or even a few, assholes can ruin the entire organizational culture.

Talking about the NAR is good, but following up is what counts. It’s better not to have such a rule than to publicly profess it but not to live it.

The rule lives or dies in the little moments. It is important to translate philosophy into action, and to recognize the small moments that must be addressed immediately, in that moment, to establish and maintain a NA organization.

Enforcing the NAR isn’t just management’s job. Establishing a NA organization means that everyone is responsible for enforcing the rule, just as everyone is responsible for living up to it.

“Assholes are us”: it is important to recognize that it’s not always just the “other guy” who is the asshole. Policing one’s own behavior, and avoiding being an asshole, is the first step to developing a NA organization.

Question 6: Using the diversity and racial profiling articles as a reference, discuss how diversity within organizations can affect broader society

Diversity, or the lack of diversity, within an organization can have broad implications for that organization and for society as a whole. An organization with a diverse workforce may benefit from the availability of a larger variety of perspectives and ideas in terms or problem-solving and innovation. Conversely, a diverse population can be difficult to manage, and can promote approaches to management that seek efficiency and avoid potential confrontation. The relative diversity of an organization can strongly influence its organizational culture; as such, ethnic, gender, or other minorities may find it difficult to advance, or even operate effectively in, organizations that lack diversity.

On a larger scale, society both reflects and is affected by the organizations that function in it. As an example, a woman who works in an organizational culture that makes it difficult for women to advance to higher positions will, by extension, face societal challenges in terms of financial capacity and access to other resources. The same can be said for nearly any minority or marginalized individual or group. Organizational cultures that shun diversity can have a ripple effect on society; the opposite is true for organizations that embrace diversity, and therefore allow access to resources that the diverse workforce will expend in society.

Question 7: Discuss Miller’s research design for analyzing racial profiling in his article.

Miller was interested not only in simply examining or discussing the topic of racial profiling by police and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), but was also concerned about the forces that shape how police function, including public and community pressure and the influence of policy makers and lawmakers. Miller wished to examine the influence of environment o organizational behavior, as well as the influence of internal, or institutional factors. With this in mind, Miler sampled LEAs to determine if they had Racial Profiling policies, and weighed the statistical results against environmental factors (such as the number of black residents in the community, crime statistics, and other factors).  Miller was also examining the issue of data collection (statistics that correlate crime and race, among other factors). For the most part, environmental factors did not significantly impact the presence or lack of racial-profiling policies. Such anti-profiling policies were more strongly associated with organizational factors, such as community-policing efforts and community-satisfaction surveys.