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Can Jails and Prisons be Healed?

This paper expertly describes the Healing Corrections Framework. "The Healing Corrections Framework focuses on the nuts and bolts of the organizational cultures of jails and prisons, how they work, and ways to transform them. It assumes that the primary vehicle for transforming corrections is through meeting the needs of correctional staff to better equip them to work with each other and with those they supervise in jails, prisons, or the community. The logic of this is simple; the work of corrections is done by correctional workers and to change the way corrections works, correctional workers must change how they do their jobs. This will require correctional staff at all levels to communicate with each other and with people under their supervision in more constructive and compassionate ways. In the Healing Corrections framework, “how things are done,” especially how roles and expectations are continuously defined and redefined among the actors within a system, is the working definition of culture" (p. 5). Topics discussed in this document include: capacity versus opportunity; cultural context; cultural fragmentation of systems, the key concept of the Framework, versus coherence; development of the Healing Corrections Framework-its empirical foundation in the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Prison Culture Project, and the Norval Morris Project, and cycles of engagement and interaction; the Healing Corrections Framework which dialogue as cultural change; Healing Corrections and "mass incarceration"; American culture and American Justice; talking about punishment; and gazing into the abyss. This website provides access to the paper and the presentation slides.