Organizational Change

Topics: Change management, Prison, Government agency Pages: 6 (2250 words) Published: December 4, 2012
The Juvenile Justice Services (JJS) is the agency that is statutorily responsible for the confinement of juvenile felony offenders. It is Ohio’s juvenile correctional system. JJS operates a central administrative office, four correctional facilities and five regional parole offices. Within central office, there are seven divisions which are further subdivided in smaller work/management units called bureaus. Divisions are headed by deputy directors and the bureaus are headed by chiefs. Also comprise the bureaus are managers and administrators that have specific areas of responsibility which include supervising lower level exempt personnel and bargaining union staff. Over the last five years, there has been change so extensive that it is having a negative impact on the overall functioning of the organization. The agency has experienced deep budget cuts, lawsuits, and multiple changes in the agency’s leadership. As a result, there have been massive layoffs, institutional closings and changes in the structure and culture of the agency. This has taken a toll on the agency’s operational capacity as well as the morale of its most loyal employees. For this public agency, there was little time for planning or generating acceptance of change. Changes were unplanned and dictated by external forces that demanded immediate transformation. Having no choice but to accept and adapt, the agency moved forward to hastily to plan and implement with hopes of success and as little negative impact to the agency and employees as possible. The goal was and is to survive a turbulent and uncertain time. ASSESSMENT AND DIAGNOSIS

The first signs of impending change came with the release of the state’s 2002/2003 biennium budget, which confirmed that JJS’s allocation of the state’s general revenue funds (GRF) had been significantly reduced. The agency lost $9.7 million in 2002 and $23.2 million in 2003. For the first time in its history, the agency closed an institution and significantly reduced funding to community partner and providers. In addition, this was the first time the agency was to experience reductions in operations, rather than expansion, and that hundreds would be laid off work. When the 2004/2005 biennium budget was released, the agency was hopeful since it did not reflect a decrease from the previous years. The allocated amount was in fact a slight bit higher than the prior biennium budget. However, the increase did not restore the millions of dollars that were previously lost, did not accommodate the increasing costs of operations, and was not sufficient to keep up with the continuing rate of inflation. Consequently, more than 200 employees were laid off and another juvenile correctional facility was closed. The need for a different sort of change became apparent when, in December 2004, a lawsuit was filed against the agency on behalf of several youth who were currently or whom had previously been held in one of the seven juvenile facilities in operation at the time. It was alleged that the facilities endangered the health and safety, as well as did damage to their emotional and psychological well-being. The lawsuit also claimed that the agency did not adequately tend to the educational, medical, or mental health needs of youth. Court appointed investigators substantiated the charges against JJS so, in 2008, the agency entered into a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs. Federally appointed monitors were given oversight authority over the agency, for a period of five years, to ensure that the agency upheld the requirements of the agreement which mandated that extensive changes to the way the agency did business and serviced youth. Major investigative findings included the need for enhanced restructuring of health and mental health services, increased training of direct service staff, and actions to substantially reduce population of the youth and revising its approach to housing...
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