Negotiation Role Play: New Crimea Prison Overcrowding Simulation

Susan Podziba and Lawrence Susskind
Eight-party, multi-issue negotiation among prison administrators, government leaders, criminal justice advocates, and prisoners' rights advocates to develop recommendations for a comprehensive state policy to alleviate prison overcrowding

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SCENARIO:

The state of New Crimea has an average daily prison population of 13,000, with the prison system currently operating at a 122% capacity. A federal judge recently ruled that such conditions violate inmates’ constitutional rights, and ordered a 13% reduction of the inmate population within six months. Following this ruling, the governor of New Crimea organized a Prison Overcrowding Policy Commission, whose responsibility it is to develop policy recommendations that will alleviate the system-wide overcrowding. The legislature will then consider the Commission’s proposals. Should the Commission fail to reach an agreement, the Department of Corrections will be forced to begin releasing inmates.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • BATNA: This exercise requires participants to identify an focus on their Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA). By clarifying their aspirations and BATNA, the players give themselves a range within which to evaluate options or packages that develop during the bargaining process.
  • Interests vs. Positions: Players should uncover the interests behind the Commission members’ positions. This will enable the Commission to seek out new options in order to maximize joint gains, thus increasing its chances of reaching an effective, mutually acceptable agreement. This case introduces a potential “hard bargaining” situation. Loss of pride may prevent a player from agreeing to a different, but equally acceptable option.
  • Alliances: In this exercise, players should learn to maximize their bargaining power by forming political alliances. Coalition-building allows those without a strong power base to promote their most important interests as well as to create innovative options that satisfy multiple party interests.

 

MECHANICS:

Estimated Time Requirements:

Read instructions: 30 minutes

Players in the same roles discuss strategy: 15 minutes

Negotiations: 90 minutes

Debriefing: 45 minutes

Total: 3 hours

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • Instructions
  • General Background
  • Editorial from The New Crimea Times

 

Role specific:

Confidential instructions for:

  • The Corrections Commissioner
  • The Governor’s Advisor
  • The Judge
  • The Parole Board Chairperson
  • The Prisoners’ Advocate
  • The State Legislator
  • The Victim’s Advocate

 

Teacher’s package (47 pages total):

  • All of the above
  • Extensive teaching notes for debriefing

 

KEYWORDS/ THEMES:

Agenda control; Coalitions; Consensus building; Constituents; Correctional policy negotiations; Interest analysis; Political constraints; Prison overcrowding; Dealing with public opinion; State policy negotiations

 

Negotiation Role Play: New Crimea Prison Overcrowding Simulation Attributes

Time required:
2-3 hours
Number of participants:
8
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
None
Neutral third party present:
None
Scoreable:
Yes
Teaching notes available:
Yes
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You are then permitted to view the document on your computer and either print the number of copies you purchased, or forward the electronic file as many times as the number of copies you purchased. You will only receive a link to one electronic file per document. So, if you order 25 soft copies, you may either forward copies of the link to 25 people via e-mail, or print (and/or photocopy) 25 hard copies of the document.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

The purchase price and handling fee are the same for both soft and hard copies. Soft copies do not entail a shipping fee.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at chouse@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at chouse@law.harvard.edu, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as all Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish to order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Participant Copies.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

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