The NIC Information Center is proud to serve as the leader in corrections-related resources for staff at all levels of federal, state, local, and tribal corrections agencies. In our collection, you will find guides and best practices, surveys, and streaming videos of nearly any topic you will face in your agency. If you feel that our collection is missing a topic area or if you have questions about a publication or research you are doing, please reach out to our helpdesk through the form below.
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NIC's eBook Collection
Starting in 2019, NIC recognized the need to lean into the freedom that eBooks have created for readers. An eBook doesn't need to be printed and it can be taken with you on devices you already have. To meet the needs of our users, we partnered with Overdrive.com and the Libby App to make our expanded collection available to you. We've even stocked it with many popular books that aren't our website. It's all free, so try it out.
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US Corrections Statistics
Each year, corrections statistics from across the industry are collected from local jails to state prisons. NIC reviews the data and provides some insight into what happened.
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NIC's Hot Topics
NIC has answered the most common questions in our Helpdesk
Can you direct me to jail policy development resources and examples of jail policy and procedure manuals?
I need to revise our jail policy and procedure manual. Can you direct me to resources that will help me? I'd also like to see any jail policy manuals that are available.
Some jail-specific policy examples and resources are provided below. As always, there are no such things as ideal or perfect polices, so you can review examples but make sure the revision you build in to your manual reflect your needs, statutes, prevailing case law, and prevailing professional practices. The American Correctional Association (ACA) Standards for Adult Local Detention Facilities as well as their Core Jail Standards, make a good basis for jail policies.
Here are some NIC general resources for jail policy development:
Co-Occurring Disorders in the Criminal Justice System
Resources on justice-involved people who have substance use disorders as well as mental health disorders.
How can I get information on incentives and sanctions/contingency management?
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. Behaviors that result in positive consequence will be repeated. Therefore, behaviors that are reinforced or rewarded are more likely to increase, and behaviors that are punished are more likely to decrease over time.
Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, 2020
of Probation Violation Guidelines Update
Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission, 2017
- An Evidence-Based
Approach to Promoting & Enforcing Compliance with Conditions of Probation Supervision
Center for Sentencing Initiatives/National Center for State Courts, 2017
Evaluation of a Contingency Management Intervention Addressing Adolescent Substance Use and Sexual Risk
Behaviors: Risk Reduction Therapy for Adolescents
Letourneau, Elizabeth J., Michael R. McCart, Ashli J. Sheidow, and Pia M. Mauro, 2017
Policy Shortens Probation and Parole Terms, Protects Public Safety Individuals on Community Supervision Can
Earn Credits to Reduce Their Sentences
Pew Charitable Trusts, 2016
- Get Smart About … Rewards and Sanctions: The Facts about Contingency Management
National Institute of Corrections (NIC), 2013Document ID: 027244
- Adaptability of Contingency Management in
Justice Settings: Survey Findings on Attitudes Towards Using Rewards
Murphy, Amy, Anne Giuranna Rhodes and Faye S. Taxman, 2012
Contingency management (CM) is widely recognized as an evidence-based practice, but it is not widely used in either treatment settings or justice settings. CM is perceived as adaptable in justice settings given the natural inclination to use contingencies to improve compliance to desired behaviors.
Treatment Manual for Implementing Contingency Management: Using Incentives to Improve Parolee Enrollment and
Attendance in Community Treatment
Prendergast, Michael and Elizabeth Hall, 2011
Behavioral Interventions to Improve Supervision Outcomes in Community-Based Corrections
Wodahl, Eric J., Brett Garland, Scott E. Culhane, and William P. McCarty, 2011
of a Contingency
Management-Based Intervention in a Community Supervision Setting: Clinical Issues and Recommendations
Trotman, Adria J. and Faye E. Taxman, 2011Document ID: 025627
- Revision of Probation Violation Guidelines Update
Censorship and Banned Book Lists in Correctional Facilities
In general, censorship is not supported by the First Amendment to the US Constitution nor by the ALA Bill of Rights in Libraries in the US. Of course, prison libraries are under very different conditions. According to Geary, Mike. "Trends in Prison Library Service." Bookmobile and Outreach Services 6, (2003) "It is important to keep in mind that prison librarians are part of the organization that locks up the prisoners. They are professionals who serve the institution as well as the inmates. Basic beliefs in intellectual freedom, censorship, and public service may all be compromised."
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) regulations state that publications can only be rejected if they are found to be "detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution or if it might facilitate criminal activity." That description is generally understood to include content such as explanations on how to make explosives, martial arts training manuals and books containing maps of the prison and its surrounding area. Each prison governor has the discretion to ban access to any reading material if he or she considers that the content presents a threat to good order or discipline, or that possession of the material is likely to have an adverse effect on the prisoner’s physical or mental condition. More at Cornell University Law School online.
In addition, books can be harder to access inside for numerous reasons. Also, some restrictions are also placed on buying and where to buy items as well as other factors surrounding vending/acquisitions. Many prisons use the IEP (earned privileges) or similar schemes as well. Most prisons also prohibit obscene or explicit materials. However, it is fairly difficult to find express polices around this topic due to the controversy surrounding this topic. You may of course contact each DOC separately to find out more about what they do in each state or jurisdiction that you are interested in. Banned lists are not always easily accessible or publically available but may be available to you upon further request. You may also share them with us later if you do find any more comprehensive lists yourself. The ACLU has filed motions in a US district courts that argue an existing policy at places like the Berkeley County Detention Center in Moncks Corner, S.C., is unconstitutional. The policy currently bans all reading material — save the Bible — from inmates. Read more:
Some states do supposedly maintain lists of banned items. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is unique in that it supposedly maintains a statewide database of banned books. "The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) arbitrarily censors books and magazines sent to Texas prisoners. Though cultivating literacy has obvious rehabilitative benefits, TDCJ prevents prisoners from reading many books, including works by award-winning authors, literary classics, and books about civil rights and prison conditions. Many feel that it is in violation of prisoners’ First Amendment rights that TDCJ prohibits the of reading important books."
Banned Books in the Texas Prison System (2011)
The Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) also allegedly maintained a list of books partially named on this site.
It is important to note that in 2013, a pair of civil rights organizations sued the Virginia Department of Corrections after the groups’ inmate legal guide to challenging prison mistreatment reportedly was banned. The suit, which was filed in Charlottesville’s federal court by the National Lawyers Guild and Center for Constitutional Rights, said that the “Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook” was banned without the required notice to the publisher. The groups also accused the department officials of violating their First Amendment rights.
In any case, there certainly isn't any one single nationwide list of books or magazines banned from prisons, but here is a list of resources which may help you explore this topic further:
Policies and Procedures for Juvenile Facilities
North Dakota Facility (Detention) Rules, Division of Juvenile Services
Correctional Officer Life Expectancy
We receive this question frequently; however, it is not an easy statistic to locate. Here is the response we have provided to similar requests.
Where can I find a listing of all the prisons and jails in the United States?
Where can I find information (address, phone numbers, warden, etc.) for all the prisons/jails in the U.S. by state?
The information is more thorough for states that have individual webpages or summary pages for their prisons on-line. You will need to check each linked site for specific information beyond just facility name.
There is no easily accessible, no-cost, comprehensive list of prisons with actual addresses and phone numbers all in one site or document.
The American Correctional Association (ACA) has an annual directory of all the state DOCs ($100) which includes all prisons (as well as other correctional services) by state and very often the private prisons as well. If you contact the American Correctional Association, they can provide you a mailing list/contact list for prisons (for a fee). American Correctional Association (ACA) general number: (703) 224-0000
Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA)
Department of Corrections Facilities by State:
Other on-line inmate locator resources:
- General inmate locator resource: (This may require a fee for a public record check)
How can I find someone who is incarcerated?
I have a relative in custody somewhere. I need to find where he is. Is there a way to locate inmates?
If you think this person is in the Federal system, here are links to the US Bureau of Prisons inmate locator (BOP).
The Federal Marshal's Service basically contracts for detention services, and there is no inmate locator for the Federal Marshal's Service detainees.
For people held in local jails, try:
For people held in state DOC's, try:
Department of Corrections Facilities by State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island (Interested parties must call to locate an offender)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Other on-line inmate locator resources:
- General inmate locator resource: (This may require a fee for a public record check)
Racial Disparities and Dynamics in the Criminal Justice System
Research exploring the racial disparities and dynamics of incarceration.
Do you have information on anger management?
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 anger and develop strategies to effectively manage anger and stop the escalation before they lose control.
Closely related to anger are aggression and hostility. Whereas anger is an emotion and does not necessarily lead to aggression, aggression is behavior intended to cause harm to another person or property. Hostility involves disliking others and evaluating them negatively.
How can I manage and communicate effectively with problem employees?
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 with Aggressive People, How to Work with Manipulative People, How to Work with Negative People, How to Work with Procrastinators, How to Work with Self-serving People, and Identifying Difficult People.click on e-courses and then the working with difficult people icon.
Access is available to corrections professionals whose jobs are categorized as executive management, middle management, first line supervision, offender programming, or training/staff development through the NIC Learning Center.