The Maryland Division of Parole and Probation is engaging in research and organizational implementation strategies with the Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!) to align the agency’s mission and goals to achieve public safety with current trends and evidence-based practices in corrections. One focus is on improving the training and professional development of staff. Currently, the ACE! Research Team has been conducting a series of Quality Improvement Work Sessions with the agency’s middle managers.

Designed as an outgrowth of focus groups, training sessions and ethnographic field work over the last three years, the Work Sessions deliver research inspired technical support using the PDSA model (Plan-Do-Study-Act) to assist middle managers in improving the way they localize and implement policies and practices. More specifically, the Work Sessions are designed to: 1) help management staff reflect on past policy implementation and reconstruct implementation channels; 2) empower middle managers to innovate within their own offices and; 3) mentor middle managers to act as “gatekeepers” in policy implementation, both down to front-line staff and up to administrators.

These Work Sessions also involve collaborative activities and challenges, such as drawing processes or building structures, aimed at exploring the hidden assumptions in daily processes and gleaning translatable lessons to workplace management. The picture features two middle managers engaging in one activity the Marshmallow Challenge (for more information on this activity click here).