National Institute of Corrections | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Corrections

The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) is an agency that promotes effective correctional practices and public policy, offering resources, expertise, and training to correctional professionals.

Introduction to the National Institute of Corrections

To understand the field of criminal justice, it’s essential to know about the National Institute of Corrections or NIC. Created in 1974, the NIC is part of the U.S. Department of Justice, specifically the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Its mission is to provide training, technical assistance, and professional development to those working in corrections, which includes jails, prisons, and community-based supervision like probation or parole.

Role of the National Institute of Corrections

The NIC doesn’t run prisons or jails. Instead, it serves as a resource for those who do. It helps them work more effectively and professionally. After all, it’s a critical job. Correctional officers, probation officers, and others working in this field have a big responsibility: They help keep communities safe, make sure justice is served, and even assist offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens.

How the NIC Works

The NIC provides training programs, research, and policy guidance to support correctional agencies. It also helps develop standards and best practices. For instance, the NIC offers training on how to manage jails effectively, counsel offenders, or respond to emergencies.

Additionally, the NIC operates the Academy of Correctional Excellence. This academy offers a variety of learning experiences, both in-person and online, for professionals in the field.


The NIC plays a vital role in the U.S. criminal justice system. It helps ensure that correctional practices are effective and humane. Whether by promoting better staff training, helping jails and prisons respond to changing circumstances, or supporting reentry programs to reduce recidivism, the NIC’s work ultimately makes communities safer.


In conclusion, the National Institute of Corrections is an essential resource in the field of criminal justice. By offering training, guidance, and expertise, the NIC helps correctional professionals fulfill their roles effectively, ensuring the smooth running of the justice system. Understanding the role of the NIC gives us a better grasp of how the correctional system works and its importance in maintaining public safety and justice.

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Last Modified: 06/27/2023

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