Modern society is becoming increasingly diverse, and, as rightfully stated by Haberfeld (2016), “law enforcement personnel are supposed to epitomize tolerance” (p. 307). As a result, diversity training has naturally become a part of the modern socialization process at a criminal justice workplace (Stojkovic et al., 2011). Moreover, it is a part of the organizational culture management since diversity within organizations is naturally increasing as well.
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For example, Stojkovic et al. (2011) point out that even if an organization lacks diversity due to its small size and existence in a homogenous culture, it is likely to experience an influx of female employees in the previously male-dominated environment (p. 254). Administrators are expected to control the organizational culture and respond to the development of the environment by facilitating organizational change, and one of the tools that can help to achieve this aim is diversity training. The key aim of such training consists in the increased diversity awareness; the expected outcome is the lack of discrimination, harassment, and the promotion of a positive, inclusive environment at the workplace.
For example, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (2010) believes that diversity can be transformed into an advantage and seeks to empower its employees with the help of an inclusive and positive environment. As a result, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Human Resources Division (2015) has introduced a four-hour diversity training course that is “designed to increase awareness and understanding of the differences in our workplace, leading to positive communication and inclusion, and embracing respect and equality for all agency employees” (p. 3).
Similarly, in 2015, the Phoenix police introduced an eight-hour training that was aimed primarily at the improvement of ethnic and cultural diversity awareness and communication skills enhancement (Rummel, 2015). It appears to be more extensive and focused than that of the Texas Department, but the lack of reports on the results of these programs makes it difficult to compare them.
Diversity training is supposed to aid criminal justice administrators in the protection of the rights of their employees. In particular, it helps to educate employees on discrimination-related issues, which is a preventive measure concerning harassment and discrimination. As a result, diversity training is supposed to enable the diverse population of the criminal justice employees to coexist and create a respectful, dignified attitude towards each other and the community (Haberfeld, 2016).
Indeed, although Stojkovic et al. (2011) primarily consider diversity training from the point of view of the impact that it has on the inter-organizational relationships, it is also of great importance for the duties of the criminal justice workers, as they are bound to interact with the diverse community that they serve. As pointed out by Haberfeld (2016), increased diversity competence is a crucial skill for criminal justice workers as it facilitates communication and potentially can reduce misconduct.
Also, the improved communication is likely to enhance the relationships between the organization and the community, and greater diversity competence can help the employees to maintain the reputation of their organization and criminal justice in general. Thus, diversity training programs assist criminal justice organizations in protecting their employees and complying with the law in more ways than one.
It is noteworthy that diversity training can be ineffective, which is why in this paper, the expected outcomes are considered. Admittedly, diversity training is challenging, and it does not always achieve its aims; in fact, Haberfeld (2016) insists that many of the modern programs resemble token activities that have been introduced for the sake of introducing. As a result, they may remain ineffective and unimproved, and the attitude of the employees who are expected to undergo this training is negatively affected by these factors.
In particular, it may be suggested that four- or eight-hour training seems dissatisfactory, even though it should be pointed out that the time, which is allocated to a program, is of secondary importance. However, it is also noteworthy that training is only one of the tools that are aimed at the creation of an inclusive environment, employee rights protection, and effective criminal law application (Stojkovic et al., 2011). The varied tools are expected to be used in a system to achieve noticeable results and improve the effectiveness of modern criminal justice diversity management.
Haberfeld, M. (2016). The triangle of recruitment, selection, and training in 21st century policing. In M. Deflem (Ed.), The Politics of Policing: Between Force and Legitimacy (pp. 295–313). Bradford, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Rummel, C. (2015). Phoenix Police Department to start new diversity training. KTAR-News. Web.
Stojkovic, S., Kalinich, D., & Klofas, J. (2011). Criminal justice organizations (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice Human Resources Division. (2015). Training Course Catalog. Web.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice. (2010). PD-10 (rev. 3), “Workforce Diversity”. Web.