Interdisciplinary Seminar Series

Title: Enhancing correctional efficiencies, effectiveness and outcomes

Speaker: James P. Wojtowicz, CCICADA/Rutgers University

Date: Monday, March 26, 2012 11:00am - 12:00pm

Location: DIMACS Center, CoRE Bldg, Room 431, Rutgers University, Busch Campus, Piscataway, NJ


The founding documents of the United States of America guarantee its citizens certain rights . . . among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness[1]. Through its representative form of government, decisions have been made and laws enacted that determine which actions and behaviors merit the denial of individual liberty through incarceration. The institution of incarceration, i.e., corrections, is a complex organization with multiple missions, unique characteristics and many diverse and often opposing constituencies. It is both an entity unto itself and a component of the broader criminal justice system. Incarceration is expensive. Society's willingness to spend whatever is necessary to house offenders is strained during times of economic challenge. When budgets are tight, the question arises 'how do we maintain effective public safety in the most cost efficient manner while satisfying mission responsibilities as well as advocates and detractors?'

This seminar will provide a brief overview of corrections and will frame the complexity of the question of how to enhance and improve the correctional system to maximize various desired system outcomes. The DIMACS/CCICADA approach views real world problems with complex characteristics in the context of sophisticated techniques with the dual goals of advancing solutions and promoting research. In this regard, one possible way of conceptualizing the problem will be presented describing the correctional system as a dynamic flow system where entities enter, spend varying amounts of time with varying inputs and eventually exit, where the objective is to minimize cost and maximize system efficiencies and outcomes. It is hoped that further discussion will result on other ways to define the problem and perhaps possible other methods to address it.

[1] Declaration of Independence, July 1776

DIMACS/CCICADA Interdisciplinary Series, Complete Spring Calendar 2012