Week 7 Discussion- Fay Spence

Respond by Day 5 to two colleagues with support for their views or with differences of opinion. Respond to Fay as you are having a conversation with her. Ask a question

Strategic planning is a process in which an organization identifies

and clarifies its goals and analyzes the steps needed to achieve those

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objectives, given the environment and resources available (Luna, 2010;

Wiita, 2004). Luna (2010) identifies six steps to the process of

strategic planning: “preparation, assessment, creation, implementation,

communication, and evaluation” (p.4).

Strategic planning is important for any organization hoping to be successful, because it is critical to know the goal or destination so that one knows when the target has been reached (Luna, 2010). Planning the steps to reach the goal is equally important; as the old saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” This planning is particularly essential for criminal justice organizations because of their importance to many aspects of life, including public order and safety, conflict resolution and de-escalation, and fairness and integrity in administration of justice. If a criminal justice organization does not adequately plan, then the essential purposes of the criminal justice system will be compromised.

To enable strategic planning, at the outset the organization must know what the organization’s purpose is, what it does and why (Wiita, 2004). This knowledge will help the agency articulate and define its goals. Early in the process (in the assessment stage), the organization needs to gain knowledge about its performance—its strengths, weaknesses, and problems—as perceived by those within the agency and by those in the community served by the agency (Luna, 2010; Wiita, 2004). The organization will also need to be knowledgeable about existing conditions beyond its control, such as financial/budgetary constraints, political environment, and community’s perceived needs, as well as any foreseeable changes in those conditions (Wiita, 2004). Without having or gaining this knowledge early in the planning process, the plan risks failure, because one cannot improve weaknesses one does not realize are present, and changes in the agency’s external environment that are not anticipated may thwart an otherwise good plan.

Two of the most important benefits of strategic planning are that the organization can function more efficiently and it can respond to change (Wiita, 2004). By clarifying agency goals, accurately identifying the steps to reach those desired outcomes, and having identifiable and measurable criteria for evaluating whether the organization has accomplished the mission, the agency can improve its focus, accomplishing better results with fewer human and monetary resources; this is how planning improves efficiency (Wiita, 2004). By anticipating change in the planning process, an organization is reminded that change is constant and rapid in this society and must be addressed. Even if different changes than anticipated materialize, the organization will be more adaptable simply by being aware of change and the need to respond to the change.


Luna, B. (2010, September/October). The process of strategic planning. American Jails, 24(4), 4.

Wiita, R. (2004, May/June). Strategic planning: A tool for the progressive sheriff. Sheriff, 56(3), 64-66.