A Proposed National Corrections College
44 Pages Posted: 18 May 2012
Date Written: March 15, 2012
More than four decades ago, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger proposed the establishment of a National Corrections Academy. He envisioned a training center for prison and jail personnel as prestigious, well-funded, and high-powered as the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Although the National Institute of Corrections established a National Corrections Academy in 1982, this academy has remained extremely small (ten full-time program specialists) and modestly funded ($2.5 annual budget) given the size of this nation’s correctional infrastructure. Today, at a cost of approximately $70 billion per year, more than half a million correctional employees in more than 5,000 correctional facilities across the U.S. house, feed, clothe, supervise, recreate, educate, and provide medical care to nearly 2.3 million inmates, and probation and parole officers supervise an additional 5 million people. Despite the cost and complexity of administering this massive correctional complex, there is no national institution to identify and prioritize correctional-leadership-development needs, evaluate best training practices, develop and disseminate quality curricula, conduct cutting-edge research, and deliver training to a significant number of high-level corrections leaders.
This article reprises Chief Justice Burger’s proposal, calling for the establishment of a National Corrections College that would be the nation’s “brain center” for correctional research, curriculum development, and leadership training. As Justice Burger observed three decades ago, an investment in a full-fledged national-level correctional training and research center would “cost less in the long run” than the failure to make such investment.
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