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Correctional Leadership Development with the National Institute of Corrections

The West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation is one of the latest graduating classes of the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Correctional Leadership Development (CLD) Series. At the time of their participation, the agency was involved in a major restructuring project, had significant staffing issues, and was receiving outside help to assist with some of the department’s operations.

“[CLD] is truly about the impact it can have on an agency,” says Jim Wiseman, a facilitator for the CLD program. “With qualified staff, organizations can maneuver themselves into better positions to meet their goals and address organizational needs.”

West Virginia’s participation in CLD helped the agency to:

  1. Collapse silos among affected agencies to facilitate the department’s transition to its current status as the West Virginia Division of Corrections within the Cabinet Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety
  2. Enhance their ability to implement succession plans thanks to the active involvement of executive-level sponsors in the success of Action Learning Project (ALP) teams and members
  3. Target high-performing staff for further leadership roles and development within the department

While not attributed directly to CLD, several participants from the West Virginia cohort are also noted for having received promotions within the department while participating in the program.

Succession planning, or identifying current, highly qualified staff within an organization to take on new roles, has long been a challenge for corrections. NIC developed the CLD series in part to help organizations address their leadership capacity or the number of qualified staff equipped with skills to lead teams, manage complex projects, and represent the organization at senior levels.

The full CLD virtual program, of which the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation took part, consists of multi-session virtual instructor-led training, including intersession activities between each live class. In the 3 to 6 months between phases 1 and 2, program participants participate in leadership activities and receive coaching. Participants also complete an agency-specific action learning plan, a unique feature of CLD that involves participation from agency leadership to have those in the CLD program work in teams to address real issues that an agency faces.

The National Institute of Corrections offers corrections staff much more than the CLD program. Frontline supervisors, mid-level managers, and executives each have dedicated programs targeted to the roles and responsibilities of their position. Like the CLD series, some courses are available both in person and virtually.

Agencies interested in requesting leadership training for their staff are encouraged to visit NIC’s topic webpage on leadership development in corrections to find the program best suited for their agency and to learn how to apply.

a screenshot of an NIC webinar with participant collaboration on-screen