Friday, August 23, 2019

URSP Student Kendra Coleman Researches Relationships Between Correctional Officers and Restricted Housing Units

In the summer of 2018, as undergraduate, I participated in the OSCAR summer impact project Changing the Whole Mind led by Dr. Danielle S. Rudes, GMU Criminology, Law & Society. As a member of her team and working with a partner, I conducted countless interviews of staff and inmates in the restricted housing units (RHU) within Pennsylvania Department of Corrections institutions. Which is when I became interested in a certain faction of data dealing correctional officers. Specifically, how all of the correctional officers interacted and depended one another in the form of a team. To date, my analysis of existing data suggests the success of the CO team within a RHU are dependent on CO’s self-ability to adapt and develop functional and relational skills needed to manage the unit. Correctional officers in the RHU also listed several undesired behaviors which act as impediments to team operationalization. On a weekly basis, I work on the project’s paper for completion and future publication.
One thing I have discovered this semester is how important the art of articulation is. At many points this semester while composing my paper, I realized to describe such riveting data with flat words did not do the data justice. There is a need to transition from always thinking one word can encompass everything the data is saying. Not to treat this paper as a class assignment, but rather a potential peer-reviewed journal article. To date, I am still attempting to separate the two methods of writing in my mind. As this is a new skill I am currently trying to hone and hope as I continue to work in the world of research I get better at being able to extend out what the data is saying with the proper words. I know overall it’s a balance trying to find the right way to convey what the data is saying and to do the best by the data. But to date, my experience working on my spring URSP has been opportunity I am very grateful for.