Main Leadership in Criminal Justice Systems


Main Leadership in Criminal Justice Systems

TheCriminal Justice system comprises of the police departments, thecourts system, and the correctional institutions but while, each ofthese agencies has a specific duty, they complement each other.Besides, while each of these agencies differs in the managementstructure, for example, while the police departments are headed bythe police chief, prisons are headed by Wardens, they have manysimilarities in terms of leadership. These include the role,standard, qualities, and expectation of persons holding positions ofleadership. Leadership has a crucial role in the criminal justice asresearch has identified a crucial relationship between leadership andeffectiveness of a criminal justice agency. Bynum (2008) in hisexploration of transformational leadership in criminal justicetraining argues that leadership entails a social process that resultsfrom the interaction the a leader shares with their followers.Besides, in criminal justice, leadership entails many things, forexample, the level of innovativeness by the leaders in the systems,their likelihood to use data to inform decisions, methods used toobtain data, and the communication approach, among other things.

Foreither the police, the correctional facilities and the court systemsto achieve success, there must be an aspect of shared vision as wellas personal development for individual stakeholders.Shared visionresults in a sense of community and in a profession where the actorsperceive the non- stakeholders such as the public, media, and thepolitician as enemies, a feeling of togetherness brings a sense ofsecurity to each player. On the other hand, while leaders in otherorganizations such as the banks are encouraged to create conflictbetween departments as a way of increasing productivity, this isdiscouraged in the criminal justice system. For instance, Bynum(2008) argues that the competitive models, when used in either thepolice, court or the correction facility, results in tension betweenthe various ranks and sections, and this finally results in a breakdown in the process of communication.

Whileleaders in criminal justice utilize a combination of severalleadership styles, there are some of the styles that guarantee moreeffectiveness compared to others. For instance, Ashcroft et al.,(2012) did a study on the influence the police leadership has on thebehavior elicited by police patrols. The study identified four styleswhich include supportive, active, innovative and traditional. Forinstance, the researcher’s identified active supervisory approachas having the most effects on the behavior of the patrol officer asthe style involves the police leaders such as supervisors spendingmost of their time on active duty with their juniors solving thecommunity problems. Besides, the researcher found that 95% of policesupervisors who employed the active approach conducted follow-upinvestigations to incidences their junior reported to them and as aresult, these juniors elicited certain behaviors such as the tendencyto spend more time conducting community policy andindividual-initiated activities which resulted in the success apolice department.

Justlike other fields, effective criminal justice leaders must possesscertain qualities such as being motivators, role model, and effectivecommunicators.In a world where criminals are devising new ways ofcommitting crimes, criminal justice leaders must emphasis on personaldevelopment and, this can happen if the leaders are in themselvesmaking use of every chance to advance their skills while giving theirjuniors ample time and encouraging them to do the same. As agenciesmandated with the responsibility of tackling emergencies, being aneffective communicator is a must-have quality for leaders in each ofthese agencies. However, unlike the traditional system where theleaders were the sole sources of information, the modern criminaljustice system utilizes both top-down and down-top approach tocommunication (Bynum, 2008). Besides, due to the nature of theirwork, every stakeholder in the criminal justice should be empoweredto step up and take charge of the situation. Karimu (2012) in hisstudy of the role of leadership standard in influencing the ethicalpractice in the justice system, argue that the criminal justiceleaders must encourage and motivate their followers to struggle forthe highest ethical standard in their professions. Additionally,Karimu argued has to be a motivator, avoid putting self-interestabove that of the organization, high self-esteem, and the ability toinspire a sense of a shared vision. Besides, Karimu identifieddynamism as a crucial quality that must be possessed by everycriminal justice system leader. Karimu adds that ethical practiceensure that leaders in criminal justice differential betweenorganizational integrity and friendship, organizational goals and theinterest of the client, and personal and public life.

Incriminal justice, leadership entails many things such as the desiredqualities of a leader and the leadership approach. Due to thecloseness of the nature of work for the court, police, and thecorrectional institution, there is a similarity in the expectedqualities as well as the leadership approach. For instance, unlikeother sectors both top-up and bottom-up approaches are used in thecommunication process in the criminal justices. Besides, everyindividual officer is supposed to be a leader by stepping up andtaking charge of the situation without waiting for what the boss hasto say as it may be a matter of life and death. Additionally,effective leaders must be able to inspire a sense of shared vision,minimize conflict between sections, and act as a role model byadopting an active approach to supervising, advancing their skillsand maintaining the highest ethical standard. Lastly, research hasshown that leadership influences the effectiveness of individualcomponent as well as the entire criminal justice system.


Ashcroft, J., Daniels, D. &amp Hart, S. (2012). How PoliceSupervisory Styles Influence Patrol Officer Behavior. Accessed onDecember 17, 2015.

Bynum, R. (2008). Transformational Leadership and Staff Training inthe Law Enforcement Profession. Accessed on March 7, 2016,

Karimu, O. (2012). Understanding Leadership Standards and EthicalPractices in Criminal Justice. Asian Journal of Social Science andHumanities, 1(3).