For a Director of a Program, it is essential to come up with an effective plan or service. Hence, a clear presentation of the program and justification for its creation and retention is significant for the proposal to be considered. This paper is written from the perspective of a Program Director who suggests the establishment and retention of a Halfway House Program for California County Probation Department. In doing so, the Program Director will discuss several factors for the carrying out of the program such as the need to reduce the County’s operating budget which eventually results into the loss of a number of personnel.Proposal for a Halfway House from the Program Director The programs and services of any County Probation Department are subjected to many factors and considerations which may lead into beneficial of harmful implications. Hence, efforts to support the retention and championing of the objectives of a particular program such as the operation of halfway house services are not spared from several hindrances. Operating budget and personnel are two major components which spell the success or failure of a halfway house program.
Working as a residential center type, which temporarily accommodates people who have been released after treatment or rehabilitation from drug dependency, mental illness and incarceration, halfway house serves as the middle house before such people are eventually reintegrated into the society. Such nature, therefore, exemplified the undeniable significance of a halfway house program for a County Probation Department. Taking this into consideration, operating and maintaining such service will be difficult especially when problems such as budget and workforce set in.
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It is in this light that a clear presentation and discussion about halfway house service, such as its features, the public it serves, its history, its value and the reason for its retention, are entrusted in me as Program Director of the California County Probation Department. In particular, the Special Projects Group, which I am in charge, will initially address and perform the task of reducing the operating budget of the California County Probation Department by 20 percent.
In doing so, however, we have come to realize that 85 percent of the department budget is allotted to its personnel or manpower. Thus, cutting the department budget will mean the loss of approximately 200 officers and support staff. While it is inevitable to undertake budget and personnel reduction, it is ultimately imperative for me as the Program Director to justify with the Chief of California County Probation Department the need to support the creation of halfway house service or program.
This is because the prison system has now acknowledged the importance, benefits and value of such program. Its purpose of serving as the halfway accommodation for people who tend avoid relapse and to eventually reintegrate into the mainstream society is, in fact, equally important as far as the goal of operating and maintaining a county probation department. One way to achieve the halfway house service is not only by reducing the overall budget of the county but also through trimming down an obviously bloated workforce.
In fact, it is through reduction of operating budget and eventually retrenchment of oversized personnel will the County realize that the establishment of halfway house program is feasible, better and more productive than sustaining an over budgeted and over-staffed County. Since obstacles such as the ones facing the California County Probation Department should, in no way, pose a threat into the creation of halfway house program, the reduction by 20 percent of the Department’s operating budget and most importantly the creation and eventual retention of the proposed halfway house plan is highly recommended by the Program Director.
Halfway House Program, a Plan Overview By its features, a halfway house is a society-based housing provision for criminals and even those who suffered physical and mental disorders who, after their respective imprisonment and treatment period, are technically still carrying out a part of their prison terms and rehabilitation cycles guidelines (“Halfway House, 2001). However, the difference between a County Probation Department or related institutions is the fact that the subjects are this time being managed in a community with less restriction but nonetheless are still required to adhere to the service’s guidelines (“Halfway House, 2001).
Aside from the provision of round-the-clock management as well as a wide-ranging guidance and support to lawbreakers or others who underwent psychological and physical treatments, the activities within a halfway house are designed to pave the way for its tenants to continue studying, hunting for job working while completing their required stay in the service (“Halfway House, 2001). Similar to residential community program, halfway house is an ongoing corrective program or service wherein the offenders complete their prison terms, experience their steady recuperation until being fully released to the society.
Hence, it serves its dual purpose of providing the required treatment and housing services while at the same time offering a chance for its “residents” to be conscious and engage in various activities within the program and the community they will service once they left the halfway house. This is because a halfway house forms an essential link between the care provided by the rehabilitation or care provided by the prison system and related institutions and the opportunities offered by the mainstream society (“Halfway House, 2001).
Reduction of 20% County Budget, the Task Presented with the mission to cut the budget of California County Probation Department by 20 percent, I, being the Program Director recommends the planned reduction of the department's operating cost based on the fact that 85 percent of the annual budget pertains to personnel allocation. This, therefore, necessitates that the streamlining should be focused on the retrenchment of personnel which is based on certain conditions and factual basis.
Since the department has a personnel plantilla of more than 1,000 officers and staff including 700 sworn officers of various ranks, the retrenchment would necessarily mean the phasing out of 200 plantilla items or so much thereof that shall exactly mean the equivalent of 20 percent of its total operating cost estimated at about $600 million annually. In specific figures, the plan should correspond to the trimming down of the present budget to only $480 million starting next year.
With the full knowledge of prevailing conditions and other factual basis such as statistics on basic concerns as daily average population of probation facilities and the average stay of those confined thereat, it is important that the reduction program shall proceed using quantifiable ratios in order to have it be implemented in the most judicious manner. Considering existing conditions in the department, procedures must be observed in the process of identifying who will be the 200 officials and support staff who will be covered by the retrenchment. In doing so, there should be provision of benefit packages and incentives for those to be affected by the retrenchment, including special incentives for those who will voluntarily retire or resign under this retrenchment policy or program.
An option to voluntarily resign should also be offered to those affected personnel and when all procedures and system are laid out, retrenchment will proceed Hence, the reduction of the County’s 20 percent budget which is synonymous to a significant impact to the personnel is planned to be carried out in a manner that benefit packages and incentive schemes for voluntary retirement and resignations must be attractive enough to encourage a good number of personnel to avail of it and thereby make the retrenchment process less painful.
The reduction in the budget and its effect, through retrenchment, in the manpower of the California County Probation Department are the primary grounds considered by the Program Director in suggesting the establishment and eventual retention of the Halfway House Program. This is because of the position that in order to create a beneficial plan, the reduction of budget and loss of some personnel in particular are definitely inevitable yet valuable decision which will pave the way for a new and more effective program.
Halfway House Program, the Rationale Halfway houses are already established since the half part of the twentieth century. According to Smith and Berlin (1988), halfway houses were built by the Federal Bureau of Prisons in the cities of Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York (Smith & Berlin, 1988). In the said halfway house services, the offenders, while completing their prison terms, were counseled, employed and provided with worthy activities which helped them to effectively reintegrate into their respective societies afterwards guidelines (Smith & Berlin, 1988).
The said system and the creation of such program such as halfway house service have proven beneficial to both the prison facilities which previously house the offenders as well as the communities where the rehabilitated offenders were eventually assimilated. These worthwhile and beneficial effects to the prison system and the community are, in essence, the very objectives which halfway house program have attained in their efforts to effectively rehabilitate the criminal offender (Smith & Berlin, 1988).
Beyond such historical account is the rationale of proposing, supporting and eventually retaining a halfway house program or service. In fact, the underlying principle, which was fundamentally deliberated by the Program Director in this paper for the consideration of the Chief of the California County Probation Department, is the basic foundation that such program or service encompasses the goal of societal correction and improvement. The principle is that the halfway house program ultimately aims for rectification and eventual development of offenders.
This is because the lawbreakers and related nuisance in the society are being corrected while being accommodated in a venue which will enhance more their qualification into being members again of the societies. As what Beha (1977) learned from a research finding which examined the role and implication of the halfway house program, such service of program is definitely covered by the category “community corrections” (Beha, 1977). Additionally, halfway house program is an acknowledged effective plan or service even by the industry of probation service themselves.
In BBC interview with the chief officer of probation services, Kenyon (2006) learned that while risk and problems are not totally eliminated in carrying out such program, halfway house generally create the “very best picture” as far rehabilitating criminals and preparing them for their return into the society (Kenyon, 2006). Applying the said principles and proofs to the set-up of the California County Probation Department, it is then best considered and suggested to the Chief of the need to undertake, champion and sustain the existence of halfway house program or service.
In fact, this may not mean the loss of other programs of the County as the 20 percent reduction in the budget, which basically caters to a bloated personnel structure, will be the main source which will support the program. Conclusion Being the Director of a Program, my foremost objective is for the Chief of the California County Probation Department’s consideration and hopefully, approval of my proposed halfway house program or service. This is prayed for with the presentation of the needed 20 percent reduction in the County’s operating budget, which in general only satisfies an apparent over-sized workforce.
Such retrenchment is feasible and acceptable based from the benefit packages and incentives which the Program Director likewise proposed. It is through said grounds that the creation and retention of the California County Probation Department Halfway House are justified. This is because by cutting the budget of the County, the problem on bloated personnel is addressed and ultimately the collective goal to create an effective and beneficial program such as the Halfway House is achieved.
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