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Environmental Scan 2012

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Beginning in the late 1990’s, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Information Center began scanning social, economic and corrections issues to inform the development of programs and services offered by NIC. This report, now in its 7th edition, has continued to evolve into a popular tool that is also used by corrections practitioners to inform their work in jails, prisons and community corrections. Since there are many issues beyond what is addressed in this environmental scan that potentially will influence corrections, this report is intended to give a broad overview of selected current and anticipated trends and not intended to be comprehensive.

The method for selecting articles, reports and other materials was based on a scan of popular magazines, newspapers and websites as well as corrections-specific publications. As part of the ongoing work of the Information Center in supporting the work of corrections practitioners, staff regularly monitors reports and publications from state, national and independent sources. The report is arranged from outside influences with the broadest influence on corrections to specific corrections issues. Each section of the report gives an overview of the topic followed by corrections-specific trends and developments in this area.

Sections comprising this document are: international developments; demographic and social trends; the workforce; technology; public opinion; the economy and government spending; criminal justice trends; corrections populations and trends; and the Prison Rape and Elimination Act (PREA).