Generalist Practice BP9:

Citing Bryson (Chapter 1), what is strategic planning, what does it measure, and why is it necessary? Literally how do we strategically plan?

The Bryson reading (pp. 7-8) defines strategic planning as a deliberative, disciplined approach to producing fundamental decisions and actions to shape and guide what an organization (or other entity) is, what it does, and why.

Strategic planning gathers data for analysis that helps identify flaws and areas of improvement in communities. It helps those involved formulate specific, measurable, and achievable goals and missions for their chosen task, intervention, business, organization, community, etc. It helps discover any and all weaknesses now and for the future. It enhances organizational learning, and it helps create value for the public.

Strategic planning is necessary because a person or organization fares best when all possibilities for success and failure have been explored and discussed. For instance, if a person wanted to start a community organization that offered free lunches and dinners for low-income community members (like a soup kitchen or Meals on Wheels), strategic planning would help to discover whether or not that kind of service was actually needed in a particular area. Strategic planning would help the organizers determine what the pitfalls might be in a particular community that would need to be addressed before moving forward (limited transportation access, food deserts, etc). It would help set up goals for the immediate future that could be built on (feeding 100 people the first week, feeding 500 in the coming weeks, with the number increasing based on need in the community, expanding to a larger facility, increasing the variety of foods available, community donors, etc).

Strategic planning is imperative when discovering and abiding by laws in the area. We don’t know what we don’t know, and bringing together like-minded individuals who understand the laws ensures that the organization is following those laws.

There are three basic principles of strategic planning that can be expanded upon in most situations (Bryson pp. 11):

  1. Where we are.
  2. Where we want to be.
  3. How to get there.

These statements are basic but, once fleshed out and expanded, lay the groundwork for success in any organization. These items can and should be revisited when an organization hits a snag and cannot seem to move forward. Going ‘back to the basics’ reminds everyone of the mission of the organization and, hopefully, gets everyone back on the same page of where we’re going.

Keeping these things in mind promotes strategic thinking, improve decision making, and enhances organizational responsiveness, effectiveness, and resilience (Bryson pp. 14-15).


Policy BP 9: Crime and Punishment

There are two main philosophies regarding crime and corrections:  rehabilitation (trying to help reform prisoners so they don’t reoffend) and punishment (giving consequences to those who offend as punishment and also a deterrent against future criminals).  Based on what the book says, would you say the US has historically had a rehabilitative or punitive approach to crime?  Do you see this continuing or changing, based on current issues and trends?  Defend your position with at least 3 historical policies and one current trend.

It’s Monday again!! Class, today we’re talking about how the United States has a long history of mistreating people in the prison system. Historically, we’ve enjoyed torturing and sterilizing criminals, treating them as inferiors, and disregarding those who suffer from mental illness. We do love our punitive approach to crime. Unfortunately this seems to be continuing, and I’ll bring that up once I list the historical and current policies.

1983 Comprehensive Crime Control Act-redid the federal sentencing system and revised bail.

1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act-this law increased the number of crimes that are punishable by death and established a three-strikes law. This also mandated registration for sex offenders.

1999 Three Strikes Law-Increase prison sentences for those previously convicted of crimes that are violent and limits punishment to nothing but a prison sentence.

NOTE: I remember being so stoked when this law passed. Now I just see my tax dollars going bye-bye because adult responsibilities.

A current trend further into punitive punishment is directly reflected in the recall of the Oklahoma state bills 780 and 781 that would reduce sentencing for non-violent drug offenders and offer rehabilitation. The people of Oklahoma passed that bill, but it was recalled by the House and Senate. Hmm?? Don’t get it. Why does the state government not trust that the people of this state know what we want? And now there is no money for reform because of the spending freeze. Awesome.