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Hot Topics

The following are a list of hot topics that the NIC Information Center team frequently receives questions about from the corrections field. Each hot topic question or issue has a set of hand-picked resources. If you would like additional research assistance on these hot topics, please contact our help desk. They have access to specialized databases and thousands of resources you won't find online. Click on a heading below to browse resources for that topic.

Training programs for both inmates and dogs.

Directory information for prisons/jails in the United States by state.

Here are some relevant resources. In addition to these, always check the most current version of the American Correctional Association standards for jails, prisons, and other co....

Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain.

Best practices and research on supervising and interacting with justice-involved women.

Characteristics of prison inmates are collected through administrative data and inmate self-reports from interviews conducted in facilities.

The following is a collection of reports, evaluations, research, and studies conducted on a number of different institutions across the country.

Chapter 10: Prison Subculture and Prison Gang Influence Hanser, Robert D., Introduction to Corrections, 2013 The Role of Masculine Norms and Informal Support on Mental Health in Incarcerated Men Iwamoto, Derek Kenji, Derricl Gordon, Arazais Oliveros, Arturo Perez-Cabello, Tamika Brabham, Steve L....

A recent study of the consequences of job stress in correctional officers revealed that the life expectancy of a correctional officer is 59 years, compared to 75 years for the national average (Cheek, 1982).

Resources for incarcerated parents and/or their families.

The NIC's National Directory of Programs for Women with Criminal Justice Involvement is on our website. Programs related to women involved with the criminal justice system are displayed by state.

To be effective and efficient, there must be varying amounts of supervision provided to offenders.

Research exploring the racial disparities and dynamics of incarceration.

Alabama Department of Corrections Administrative Regulations

Arkansas: Criminal Detention Facility Standards 

Browse a directory of links to state listings for policies and procedures.

Radicalization and conversion to violent extremism of inmates.

Compassionate release polices allow for the early release or furlough of incarcerated people in connection to advance age and/or illness.

Good-time credit—time credited based on a prisoner’s good behavior while imprisoned that is applied toward the prisoner’s early release.

Cultural competence refers to an ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, particularly in the context of human resources, non-profit organizations, and government agencies whose employees work with persons from different cultural/ethnic backgrounds.

Medical treatment of the terminally ill under correctional management.

Question: I have a relative in custody somewhere.

Rewards and sanctions, or contingency management programs, are based on the theory of operant learning, which explains that human behavior is learned through the consequences that result from our actions.

Correctional Hostage Rescue Units [Article] Correctional Hostage Rescue Operations--CHRT--Part 1 [Article] Correctional Hostage Rescue Operations--CHRT--Part 2 [Article] Garcia, Joseph. Hostage Survival for Corrections [PowerPoint Slides] Crisis Systems Management LLC. 5 Strategies to Prepare fo....

7 strategies to battle the health effects of shift work

Fox, Harriet, 2017

Recognizing and understanding inmate deception, inmate manipulation, inmate set-ups.

Personal Safety Inside Prison [Article] ToersBijns, Carl, 2015 Document ID: 029790 The Corrections Profession: Maintaining Safety and Sanity, Part 1 [Webinar] Spinaris, Caterina, Mike Denhof, and Greg Morton, Desert Waters Correctional Outreach (DWCO), National Institute of Corrections (NIC) ....

Verbal de-escalation is an intervention for use with people who are at risk for aggression. Using calm language, along with other communication techniques, to diffuse, re-direct, or de-escalate a conflict situation.

Cost of health care services in correctional facilities.

Anger is an emotion that ranges from mild irritation to intense rage. Anger is a learned behavior that can be changed. Angry people need to be aware of the events, circumstances, and behaviors of others that trigger their anger.They need to understand the negative consequences that result from ang....

There isn't any one single nationwide list of books or magazines banned from prisons.

Overview of trauma and its effects on justice-involved women.

The collateral consequences of a criminal conviction—legal sanctions and restrictions imposed upon people because of their criminal record.

Mentoring [Website] Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, 2015 "Research has demonstrated that mentoring programs can positively affect social, behavioral, and academic outcomes for at-risk young people.

Criminal background checks and recidivism: Bounding the causal impact

Siwach, Garima, 2017

According to Don Andrews and James Bonta (The Psychology of Criminal Conduct, 2010), the following are risk factors contributing to an individual's criminal conduct. Major Factors: Antisocial/pro-criminal attitudes and values. Pro-criminal associates and isolation from others who are anti-crimi....

Recruitment, hiring, and retention of women and minorities in the criminal justice system.

Examples of orientation handbooks for offenders.

Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA) [Website] Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA), 2015 "JRSA conducts and publishes multistate, policy-relevant research on justice issues; provides training and technical assistance to build research and evaluation capacity and know....

Our nation’s jails, prisons, and community corrections agencies are confronted daily with substantial numbers of persons with mental illness in custody and under supervision. Mental illness in corrections demands an urgency of response, services, and care.

Question: We get periodic complaints from inmates about the temperature in their cells.

A prolonged refusal to eat, carried out as a protest.

You have observed, heard or investigated an incident. You know the who, what, where, and how of the event. Now what? It's time to write a clear concise report to describe and explain the event or series of events. If you are writing an investigative report, it is important to establish what you did as an investigator and when you did it.

Many corrections systems isolate certain prisoners from the general prison population. It's a practice known as special management confinement or segregation.

The process for determining adequate staffing for a jail facility, and make it defensible, is to conduct a staffing analysis on a facility by facility basis.

This "Knowledgebase" focuses on the use of volunteers in criminal justice settings. Volunteers can and do provide a variety of services within state and local correctional systems. These include but are not limited to the following: Providing special instruction in a particular area such as tuto....

Identifying and addressing employee turnover issue and improving retention.

A brief history of corrections 

Occupational Stressors in Corrections Organizations: Types, Effects and Solutions Denhof, Michael, Caterina G.

There is an inherent tension between the security mission of prisons and mental health considerations.

Grievance procedures provide inmates with a formal method for dealing with issues.

DACUM, which stands for Developing a Curriculum, was pioneered at the Ohio State University Center on Education and Training for Employment. It is a form of job analysis. When developing a curriculum for correctional employees, one task is to assure that the topic and content is clearly job-relevant. In fact, job-relevancy is a component of legally defensible training in corrections.

The NIC Green Corrections Initiative seeks to increase awareness among corrections professionals about environmental issues related to the practice of corrections and focus attention on the need to make correctional facilities more energy and resource efficient.

A private facility or for-profit prison is a place in which individuals are physically confined or incarcerated by a third party that is contracted by a government agency.

Guiding Principles on Use of Force


Police Executive Research Forum

Organizational culture is defined as the values, assumptions, and beliefs the people in an organization hold that "drive the way they think and behave within the organization" (Cooke, 1989).

Coaching offers agencies a win-win method for developing their employees.

Succession planning is a process for identifying and developing internal people with the potential to fill key leadership positions in an organization. Succession planning increases the availability of experienced and capable employees who are prepared to assume these roles as they become available.

Domestic violence is a violent confrontation between family or household members involving physical harm, sexual assault, or fear of physical harm.

The Directory of Programs Serving Children and Families of the Incarcerated is an update of the Directory of Programs Serving Families of Adult Offenders, dated October 2001.

Correctional health guidelines and recommendations for health professionals.

Question: I want to know if I need to have a law library in my jail. What kinds of issues should I consider? What information do I need?

Answer: Like so many issues in corrections, the answer is it depends. The point is not necessarily having a law library, but rather providing reasonable access to legal materials and the courts.

I have taken several of the NIC online courses.

Question: What is the definition of training? How do I know if my agency is delivering defensible training? Answer: Training Defined: A formal exchange of job-related knowledge and/or skills from someone having it to someone needing it where something is acquired and applied resulting in somethi....

The National Institute of Corrections offers several self-study e-courses on Working with Difficult People through the NIC Learning Center (for supervisors and managers) and Frontline Learning Center (for correctional line staff.) Course offerings include Dealing with Micromanagers, How to Work w....

NIC provides some if it's popular video series and resources packages on Data DVDs.