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Jails Resources

At the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), we're committed to supporting those who work in jails with the latest resources and information. That's why we've created a page dedicated to Jails professionals, designed to provide you with insightful information and support you need to excel in your role.

This page is a comprehensive resource hub, filled with research articles, best practices, and training materials to help you tackle the unique challenges of working in a jail environment. We understand that your role can be tough, so we've put together a wide range of resources to help you address issues like managing inmates with mental and behavioral health issues, developing effective staff training programs, and conducting security audits.

In addition to our wealth of resources, we also offer a range of training opportunities specifically for jail professionals. Our training programs are developed with leading experts in the field and are designed to help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends, best practices, and research in the corrections field.

At NIC, we're committed to providing jail professionals with the support and resources they need to succeed. We encourage you to explore the resources below, take advantage of our training, and let us know if there's anything else we can do to help you excel in your role. We're always here to help and support you!

How can Technical Assistance help my Jail?

The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) offers technical assistance to jails and correctional organizations to help them address complex issues and achieve their goals. Our Correctional Program Specialists can provide customized support to address your organization's specific needs, whether it's developing effective staff training programs, improving inmate outcomes, or implementing evidence-based practices. Our technical assistance services are tailored to your unique circumstances, and our team will work collaboratively with you to help you achieve your desired outcomes.

With NIC's technical assistance, you'll have the support you need to overcome challenges and build a stronger, more effective organization.

What is an example of Technical Assistance for Jails?

in 2016, NIC partnered with the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office (OPSO) in New Orleans, Louisiana. The OPSO faced challenges related to staffing shortages, inmate classification, and limited mental health services. NIC provided technical assistance by conducting a comprehensive review of the jail's policies and practices, facilitating a staff training program on effective communication with inmates, and providing ongoing support for the development and implementation of new programs.

As a result of the technical assistance provided by NIC, the OPSO was able to improve staffing levels, enhance inmate classification practices, and expand mental health services.

Apply for NIC Technical Assistance

Online LMS Training and eCourses

This course will provide you with an overview of the problem of inmate suicide and the ways you can help prevent inmate suicides in correctional facilities.

The purpose of this course is to provide jail administrators and jail personnel with sufficient knowledge to develop housing plans that help manage inmate behavior.

While this course focuses on data analysis in jails, it gives a basic overview of statistics for any corrections professional. During this course, you will gain general familiarization with types of statistics and how to use them. In addition, you will learn how to explore data analysis by working through a case study.

This course will show how you can improve data collection and analysis at your correctional institution.
Webinars & Trainings
Related Topics

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) enables low-income individuals in the criminal justice system to obtain insurance coverage. NIC's ACA Mapping Initiative maps the decision points across the corrections system to identify opportunities for enhanced enrollment and integration of health care coverage.

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Children with incarcerated parents can experience trauma and long-lasting negative effects, such as behavior problems, poor academic outcomes, and severed relationships with their parents. This page provides resources for facilities who want to provide accommodations and resources to families in their care.

a black and white image of a man's face, the half of the man's face that is visible is on the right side of the image
Cognitive behavioral therapy reduces recidivism in both juveniles and adults. The therapy assumes that most people can become conscious of their own thoughts and behaviors and then make positive changes to them. This page gives CBT resources for correctional facilities.

a woman sitting at a table, in front of her is a man's fist indicating a threat of violence
NIC has launched the Correctional Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative to combat human trafficking in correctional operations. CAHTI is focusing on the victims of sex trafficking. The program aims to identify and rescue victims, provide necessary services and support, and generate evidence against their traffickers.

picture of a man walking in a correctional facility hallway, on the wall is written level three transfer and medical unit or modules A,B,C,D
The need for effective and efficient correctional healthcare services has risen with increasing incarceration rates, including mental health, substance abuse, suicide prevention, and elderly care. The this page has resources on correctional healthcare best practices.

an NIC Corrections training class with students studying together
Incarceration may improve employment prospects if it has a rehabilitative effect or includes education and training. Correctional Industries provides real-life work experience, and this initiative helps identify organizational priorities, establish objectives, and provide specialized services and programming to support a return to the labor force.

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Well-written policies and procedures inform and govern staff behavior, set clear expectations, and support professional behavior. Policies need to have defensible rationale, such as "legitimate correctional outcomes," prevailing standards, or specific case law, and must be officially approved and issued.

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Domestic violence involves physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse with the intent to control a partner. The NIC highlights programs to address offender accountability and victim safety in domestic violence cases.

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Corrections Stress refers to the emotional challenges faced by correctional personnel and the potentially cumulative negative side effects of what staff experience through daily interactions with justice-involved individuals and immersion in uniquely challenging workplace conditions.

For additional information, trainings and materials on this NIC Project go to: Health and Wellness

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Employers must create a work environment that values diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) to attract the best employees. The DEIA supports individual and organizational growth by providing resources to examine bias, lead diverse teams, support inclusive teams, and create DEIA programs.

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The Employer-Driven Employment Toolkit provides effective practices, strategies, tips, and resources for implementing the four key processes. The toolkit emphasizes building relationships between corrections agencies and businesses to ensure successful attachment to the labor market.

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EBDM is a strategic and deliberate method of applying empirical knowledge and research-supported principles to justice system decisions made at the case, agency, and system level. Public safety outcomes will be improved when stakeholders engage in partnerships, use research, and create better outcomes.

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Evidence-based practice (EBP) uses current research and data to guide policy and practice decisions. It involves critical review of research literature, quality assurance, and evaluation. EBP focuses on measurable outcomes and practical realities, making it appropriate for outcome-focused human service disciplines.

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The Evidenced-Based Workforce Training Series - based on evidence-based practices - shows staff how to combine cognitive behavioral interventions with motivational interviewing techniques to address offenders’ gainful attachment to the workforce and/or job loss. This “hand in glove” approach supports the honest exploration of thoughts, feelings, and beliefs affecting offender

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Gangs are an ongoing national problem that requires effective management by the public safety community. The research discussed covers various topics related to gangs, including slang used by prison gangs and intervention for gang-affiliated inmates.

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The Supervision Agency Gender-Responsive Evaluation (SAGE) is a process designed to guide assessment of gender-responsiveness in policies and programs for women in correctional facilities. It includes two sections, and the assessment process requires collaboration among corrections professionals.

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The Green Corrections Initiative promotes environmentally sustainable practices and green-collar job readiness training programs in correctional facilities. The initiative provides technical assistance to develop strategic plans for implementing GC programs and creates a community to promote green practices throughout the country.

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Indian Country relies on corrections as a cornerstone of its justice system, including tribal courts, probation, and law enforcement. Jails play a crucial role in public safety and reducing recidivism, and both tribes and the Bureau of Indian Affairs are responsible for jail administration.

the inside of a correctional unit in a facility
NIC offers training, technical assistance, and information on jail administration to help jail administrators effectively manage operations. Technical assistance is available to individual jails nationwide and state agencies that work to improve jail administration quality.

two signs on a wall. one says exit, the other says area for evacuation assistance
NIC provides technical assistance to jail standards and inspection agencies in developing and revising jail standards, related inspection systems, and training to jails. They also help jail-related organizations in developing a jail standards and inspection system.

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This page addresses the unique needs of justice-involved veterans, who suffer from physical and "invisible" wounds of war. NIC first developed "Veterans Treatment Courts: A Second Chance for Vets Who Have Lost Their Way," and established the Justice Involved Veterans Network to improve outcomes for veterans.

three women talking at their bunk bed in a prison cell
Correctional administrators need to understand the different paths and levels of risk of women offenders to improve outcomes for them. Technical assistance is available to local jurisdictions to examine and improve their responses to this population.

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Juvenile detention populations have significantly reduced due to reforms in the industry. The reforms focus on improved screening, community-based alternatives, and expansion of programs for at-risk youth, with only the most dangerous youth in custody.

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NIC believes in developing effective correctional leaders through competency-based training aligned with agency needs. It offers Correctional Leadership Competencies for the 21st Century, which links skills, knowledge, and attributes of effective leaders to specific behaviors.

a collection of scarves that resemble the color spectrum of visible light or a rainbow
This webpage provides information on the safe and respectful management of LGBTQI persons in custody, using best practices and considering legal perspectives. Agencies can apply for limited technical assistance to improve their response to managing LGBTQI persons.

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Motivational Interviewing (M.I.) is a counseling method that helps people explore and resolve ambivalence by accessing internal motivation for change. It draws from client-centered counseling, emphasizing empathy, optimism, and respect for client choice. M.I. also uses self-perception theory to encourage change by having clients talk about the benefits of change.

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NIC provides training and technical assistance to local jurisdictions facing challenges when deciding to build a new jail, including planning, construction, and operation of the facility. Services address factors to consider, owner involvement, and designing, constructing, and occupying the new facility.

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Reentry is the transition of offenders from prisons or jails back into the community. Over three-quarters of state offenders are re-arrested within five years of release, highlighting the importance of successful reintegration for improving public safety and policy.

a picture of communal bathroom stalls in a corrections unit
PREA was enacted to address the issue of sexual abuse of people in custody. Its provisions include zero-tolerance standards, standards for detection, prevention, reduction, and punishment, collection and dissemination of information, and award of grant funds.

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Pretrial Services programs provide information for bail decisions and supervision to promote public safety. By identifying risk factors, judicial officers can balance the presumption of innocence while protecting the community.

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This webpage provides information to correctional agencies regarding safe and respectful management of restrictive housing populations. The use of restrictive housing has varied over time due to factors such as prison overcrowding and an increase in violent and disruptive inmates.

books on a table in a prison
This collection of resources is intended to provide a broad overview of current research and trends in the management and treatment of sex offenders.

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This web page provides lists of resources related to local, state, and federal statistics.

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Strategic Inmate Management (SIM) is a unified operational philosophy aimed at promoting safe and secure environments in jails and prisons. SIM integrates the principles and strategies of Direct Supervision and the elements of Inmate Behavior Management.

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The resources on this page will help give an overview of the problems surrounding correctional suicides and the ways one can implement strategies to turn around the alarming upward trajectory of suicide rates.

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Technology presents both advantages and disadvantages to the corrections field, with professionals struggling to keep up with advances. This page covers various technologies such as biometrics, drones, and body cameras, to provide information on the biggest trends in technology for the corrections field.

a construction worker using a pneumatic nail gun with a yellow hard hat
This page provides links to research, case studies, and best practices, demonstrating the value of giving both currently and formerly incarcerated individuals opportunities for rehabilitation through employment. By providing these resources, NIC aims to support communities in creating more inclusive and diverse workplaces while improving public safety.

TJC Transition from Jail to Community Logo
There are over 3000 local jails in the United States that process approximately 12 million releases per year. With such a magnitude, focusing on offender reentry provides opportunity to influence public safety, but implementation of a successful reentry process for offenders is both multifaceted and complex.

three lady sheriffs jumping for joy in the air
This page highlights the need for maintaining safety and security while providing opportunities for staff to not become overwhelmed by both institutional and community settings. "Wellness" emphasizes the importance of taking personal well-being seriously and provides a list of topics and resources to help professionals in the corrections field find balance and stay motivated to perform at their best.
Frequently Asked Questions


Date of Publication

No, NIC does not certify jails, even with a court order. NIC is not an investigatory or regulatory agency. NIC’s interest is in determining how best you can provide detention services in your community in a manner that is safe for inmates, staff and the public.

Does the National Institute of Corrections certify jails?

No, the National Institute of Corrections does not certify jails because it isn't a regulatory agency nor is it investigatory agency. NIC does help jails improve their training, processes, and procedures to better serve their incarcerated individuals, staff, and community.