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NIC is looking for Corrections Photos

The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) needs your help. We are looking for diverse, high-quality corrections photos to use in our training materials, publications, and online resources. Our goal is to show the modern approach to corrections, criminal justice, and rehabilitation that conveys advances that have been made throughout the field. But we cannot do it alone.

If you are part of a correctional facility or corrections-related team that takes or has created a stockpile of photos, we would like to review and potentially feature that photography in NIC materials. If used, we will attribute any photo to your facility or organization.

We want to showcase (and credit) your great photography showing both modern correctional practices and the great work being done by corrections professionals each and every day.

The quality we are looking for:

  • Professional Quality Photos
    These days, everyone has a camera, but that does not make us photographers. Taking a great photo is part skill, part talent. A professional photo captures a little magic and stands a cut above the others. What comprises a great photo is hard to describe, but our eye knows it when we see it. 
  • Non-Stylized Photos
    We believe the best photo is one that hasn't had a lot of effects applied to it. We are looking for the original photos or  photos with only light touch-ups that have been adjusted for things like exposure, contrast, and levels.
  • Formats
    Our team can convert any photo file types from one format to another, but we prefer RAW file formats, JPG, and PNG.
  • Sizes
    Since we are on the Web, we do not need to have full print-quality photos from you, but we do prefer them if you have them. It is always easier to shrink a photo than to scale it up.
  • Dimensions
    We prefer wide shots as opposed to vertical shots in general, but there is no hard line as to what we will review and consider.

Photos we want:

  • Facilities (jails, prisons, community corrections facilities, etc)
    • New facilities and new facility features
    • Old facilities and old facility features
    • Cells
    • Housing units
    • Kitchens
      • Food cart
      • Food storage
    • Beds
    • Bed blocks
    • Units
    • Doors
    • Gyms and equipment (for staff or incarcerated persons)
    • Chairs and tables
    • Medical wards
    • Evidence room
    • Control desk / supervisor station
    • Laundry
    • Court rooms
    • Hallways
    • Libraries
  • People:
    • Diversity - Racial, Age, Gender, and any other type - we want a wide range of people in photos
    • Officers, Sergeants, Wardens, & other personnel
    • Faux-Incarcerated Personnel (See Below)
    • Interactions between:
      • Incarcerated individuals
      • Officers
      • Courtroom staff
      • Facility staff
      • Families of incarcerated individuals
      • Volunteers
      • Any mix of the above
  • Transportation
    • Cars
    • Vans
    • Transport buses
    • SWAT Vehicles
    • Helicopters
    • Airplanes
    • etc
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Devices allowed for use by the incarcerated population
    • Devices used by officers
    • Contraband
    • Non-identifiable tattoos (tattoos that are very general and aren't unique to one individual)

Photos we want to avoid

  • Identifiable Incarcerated Persons
    • While we would like to accept photos of actual incarcerated persons, there is concern for the safety of any individuals that could be identified by his or her picture being used in a public forum. Therefore, we ask that if you would like to include incarcerated persons in the photos you send us, the photos should be of people who are completely unidentifiable or of staff who have dressed up as incarcerated individuals.
    • Photos of incarcerated individuals who cannot be identified (i.e., no faces, no tattoos, no other things that would enable a viewer to know exactly who the subject of a photograph is) are acceptable.
  • Security items
    • Items that would be of a security concern to your agency (e.g., control panels, ID numbers, operations procedures, and/or anything you would not want the general public to see).

Documents we need:

  • Your guarantee that every person who appears in the photos has signed a photo release form giving you permission to take their photo. If you do not have your own, you may use ours (note the header for which of the 2 pages to use.)
  • A signed letter addressed to the NIC Information Center giving NIC permission to use your photos. With your letter, please include a shot list identifying the file name of each photo you submitted.

How to deliver the photos:

  • Please provide the photos in a zip format and/or through a cloud storage service (examples include but are not limited to: dropbox, WeTransfer, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc)
  • DO NOT embed final images in a word document. If you want to include a thumbnail of each image with the shot list, that's okay, but we will not be able to extract images from word documents for use elsewhere.
  • We use images that are between 1000x1000 pixels to 5000x5000 pixels in size.
    • A good, general default size is for the longest edge of the photo to be 2000px.
    • We can accept larger photos, but don't typically need full, print-quality sizes.
    • We also don't need photos below 1000px in size as we can shrink larger photos to suit those needs.
  • Accepted formats: JPG, PNG, SVG

To let us know you have photos you would like to share:
 Contact NIC    Download the NIC Photo Authorization Letter


Can NIC share its photos with other agencies?
At this time, the photos we have received from other agencies have only been given to us with exclusive permission for the NIC to use them. We do have other corrections agencies contacting us about this program occasionally, requesting access to the photos, but have had to decline due to the rights and permissions attached to the collections. We would request that if you have photos to share with us and/or other agencies, please consider whether your agency and/or photographer would be willing to grant more wide-ranging rights for other agencies to use the photos. If we are given photos with more open permissions, we will do our best to make those available to the public.

Does NIC have a photo library I can access?
We do not at this time. Most of the photos you see on our website come from free and paid stock photography websites, as well as a few we have been able to capture ourselves. We encourage anyone to come up with a collection of corrections images that the corrections industry can have access to, free or paid.