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National Institute of Corrections (NIC) (Washington, DC)

The Public Information Officer (PIO) plays a vital role in local jails. The public’s perception/misperception of jail operations can influence public safety, funding, elections and numerous other factors. Responding to media inquiries regarding crisis situations is just one of the many roles of the PIO. Building a positive rapport with the media, taking control of your message, and conveying your mission are priority tasks for a PIO. The Jail Public Information Officers Network Meeting provides for the free exchange of ideas and information that allows colleagues to share and learn new strategies. These proceedings highlight the events that happened during this meeting.

Since jail crowding is often called the most pressing problem facing criminal justice systems in the U.S., this 3-hour videoconference aims to help jurisdictions develop effective strategies and techniques for managing jail population levels. Issues discussed include:

  • The systemic problem of crowding and the need for effective system-wide policy
  • Decision points in the system that help control crowding
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Long and short term strategies to reduce jail population levels
  • Identifying and developing systemic strategies to handle special populations
  • And learning how to develop a vision for the future and identifying resources.

 

Alleviating Jail Crowding: A Systemic Approach Cover

In 2014, a network of membership associations that represent community corrections practitioners—the Community Corrections Collaborative Network (CCCN)—surveyed their memberships to gauge opinions about the state of the field. The survey sought to identify what community corrections practitioners believe are the significant issues and opportunities facing the field. CCCN’s goal with the survey is to bring a fresh perspective about where the field needs to go and what community corrections will need to get there, and allow those engaged in the national criminal justice reform debate to hear directly from those working with most people under correctional control. This survey is the first to ask those employed in community corrections their opinions about the field’s priorities. As such, the survey focuses on issues that relate to the direction community corrections is taking, the influence policymakers and the public have in determining that direction, and the resources needed to address new and anticipated priorities. The survey also provided CCCN an opportunity to determine if it is working on policy and issue areas that association memberships consider priorities Results show that the field embraces key elements of the new approach CCCN says the field needs to take: Key benchmarks include increasing reliance on evidence-based practices, research and data driven approaches. The survey results show strong support for a field that prioritizes innovation, systems change, collaboration and training.

An Opinion Survey of the Community Corrections Collaborative Network Cover

"In recent years, interest in high-quality parole decisionmaking has grown significantly. Paroling authorities are under considerable pressure and subject to substantial public scrutiny as they strive to reach high-quality parole decisions that ensure public safety. In this context, the Legal Decision-Making Lab at Carleton University has been working for nearly a decade to develop and improve a decisionmaking tool for parole practitioners. This tool, the Structured Decisionmaking Framework, acts as a road map or guideline for professional decisionmakers to help them reach consistent, transparent, and defensible high-quality conditional release decisions. It acknowledges the professional expertise and extensive experience of parole decisionmakers by using a structured approach that guides paroling authorities through the process of making parole decisions by considering offender information demonstrated to be closely linked to post-release performance. Given this grounding, the Framework can help paroling authorities incorporate or enhance the use of evidence-based practice in their decisionmaking. Through its technical assistance program, the National Institute of Corrections facilitated opportunities for three states—Ohio, Connecticut, and Kansas—to examine the use of the Structured Decisionmaking Framework in their jurisdictions. The paroling authorities in these states all received training in the use of the Framework. Though the Framework has been extensively validated and its use supported via research in Canada, each state also participated in a small-scale exercise aiming to provide preliminary validation results specific to their jurisdiction. This document summarizes the results of these validation exercises" (p. 2).

Sections following an executive summary include: the Structured Decisionmaking Framework; results regarding the use of the Framework and case outcomes in Ohio, Connecticut, and Kansas; and implications with concluding remarks. "Based on the results of these preliminary validation exercises, it appears that the Structured Decisionmaking Framework can contribute to high-quality, transparent and consistent parole decisionmaking by the Ohio Parole Board, Connecticut Board of Pardons and Parole, and Kansas Prisoner Review Board … Given the high stakes involved in parole decisionmaking, even minimal improvements in predictive accuracy can result in fewer victims, better management of strained prison capacity, and cost savings. As such, continued investigation of the use of the Structured Decisionmaking Framework is warranted and is supported by preliminary promising results" (p. 46).

Analysis of the Use Cover

Presents a report that "fulfills the requirement in section 5(b) of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) for the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) to submit an annual report to Congress and to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, summarizing the activities of the Department of Justice regarding prison rape abatement for the preceding year" (p. 3). This report is divided into two parts: introduction; and activities and accomplishments by five U.S. Department of Justice agencies. Also included is "Rape and Coercive Sex in American Prisons: Interim Findings and Interpretation on Preliminary Research" by Mark S. Fleisher.

Annual Report Cover

The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and People in Charge LLC are pleased to present the Achieving Performance Excellence (APEX) Change Team Training Curriculum – part of the APEX Initiative. The APEX initiative incorporates culture, leadership, performance measurement, results, and a change management strategy to help corrections agencies use their resources wisely to improve their organizational performance …

The APEX Change Team Training will provide correctional agencies with capacity-building training in the APEX systems approach to organizational performance improvement. This training is designed to create teams of internal change agents in all sectors of corrections. It will enable participants to build their skills and take the APEX components out to their agencies and successfully implement the APEX processes: assisting their agencies as they go through the culture and change management processes, developing integrated and holistic implementation plans to meet any identified gaps, developing comprehensive communications plans, and working toward sustaining the change efforts.

Modules include: • Welcome and Program Overview; • APEX Public Safety Model; • Change management and organizing people; • Agency assessment: laying the groundwork for change; • Define the goal; • Build the implementation plan; • Communications planning; • Implement and sustain changes; • Workshop close. Includes copies of the PowerPoint presentation slides.

APEX Change Team Training: Facilitators Manual [and] Participant Manual [Lesson Plans and Participant Manual] Cover

This directory “is an integral part of the National Institute of Correction’s (NIC’s) Achieving Performance Excellence (APEX) Initiative. It provides resources, tools, and interventions to support correctional agencies on the APEX journey. This directory is designed to complement the APEX Guide¬book series and to enhance efforts to improve performance excellence by providing domain-specific resources and interventions. It can also be used as a stand-alone guide to change management and to the APEX Public Safety Model domains, which include the following: Leadership; Operations Focus; Organizational Culture; Stakeholder Focus; Workforce Focus; Strategic Planning; Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management; [and] Results. Using this directory, the agency can target one or more domains and can find specific domain-related guiding questions, tools and interventions, case studies, and other resources to direct a change effort for improvement. Potential scenarios for change include the following: (1) when an agency is getting ready for Prison Rape Elimination Act compliance; (2) when a new jail director comes on board; (3) when a new committee is formed to direct performance excellence; (4) when a change in legislation requires agency changes; (5) when an agency is running smoothly, but assesses itself preventively and finds room for improvement in specific domains; (6) when a new program is put into practice; and (7) when an opportunity arises to embark on a change effort” (p. 1).

APEX Resources Directory Vol. 1: Change Management and the APEX Domains cover

“APEX Resources Directory Volume 2 provides supportive information to correctional agencies embarking on the APEX (Achieving Performance Excellence) journey. It introduces the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Information Center, provides detailed information on creating a communications plan for those implementing the APEX Initiative, describes how to use focus groups to effectively gather information and feed-back, and includes a team development guide for those who want to build teams, enhance team performance, and understand what makes teams an effective part of any organization” (p. 1). Chapters following a view of achieving performance excellence are: introduction; NIC resources; APEX Communication Plan; focus groups—a practical guide; and team development guide; and book summary.

APEX Resources Directory Vol. 2: Communications, Focus Groups, and Development Cover

“Through extensive research and analysis, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) is offering the field of corrections a comprehensive business model entitled the APEX (Achieving Performance Excellence) Initiative. The APEX Initiative is an agency-driven systems approach to building capacity for higher organizational performance, best practices, data-driven decisionmaking using multiple self-assessment tools, and a Guidebook series with strategies, interventions, and pathways. The APEX Public Safety Model presents a whole-systems view of a correctional agency” (p. v). You definitely want to put this on your must read soon list! Ten chapters follow an introduction to Achieving Performance Excellence (APEX): overview to APEX; APEX Leadership Domain; APEX Organizational Culture Domain; APEX Operations Focus Domain; APEX Stakeholder Domain; APEX Workforce Domain; APEX Strategic Planning Domain; APEX Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management Domain; APEX Results Domain; and developing a 7-step communications plan.

APEX: Building the Model and Beginning the Journey Cover

This presentation will increase the user's understanding of the risks associated with the use of restraints, tools to reduce risk, and the proper way to use restraints in custody. Issues discussed include:

  • Potential problems and concerns with the use of restraints;
  • Terminology, physiology, and medical risks associated with the application and use of restraints;
  • Planned and unplanned use of force;
  • The need for policy development, training, and monitoring;
  • Tools to reduce the risk for asphyxia and death;
  • The role and ethical limitations of medical and mental health problems;
  • And legal implications and liability.

 

Application and Use of Restraints Cover

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