July 22, 1999
Mr. Arnold Hopkins
Special Assistant to the
Assistant Attorney General
Office of Justice Programs
U.S. Department of Justice
Dear Mr. Hopkins:
I am responding to your request regarding the services we could contribute to the Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, Community Health and Justice Project. Our agency would be pleased to participate in this effort. This letter gives a brief overview of our services and the help we could offer to Rio Arriba County, The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) was created in 1974 to be a center for correctional knowledge and provide leadership and assistance to corrections. We are unique as a federal agency because we provide direct service, rather than financial assistance, as the primary means of carrying out our mission. Our services respond directly to the needs identified by practitioners in state and local corrections. At NIC, each primary constituent group in adult corrections jails, prisons, and community corrections is served by an NIC division. All adult corrections agencies are further served by the Academy Division, the NIC Information Center, and the Office of Correctional Job Training, and Placement.
NIC's primary service delivery strategies include short-term technical assistance, training, and information dissemination. Technical assistance responds to an issue that an individual correctional agency identifies. NIC sends someone experienced in the subject area to work with agency staff to assess management and operations related to the issue and develop recommendations for addressing the issue. This visit to the agency requesting assistance is usually no longer than 3-5 days and is followed by a written report.
The Jails, Prisons, and Community Corrections Divisions of NIC also offer training specific to their constituent groups. For example, the Jails Division conducts training on direct supervision jails, inmate classification in jails, planning for new jails, developing mental health services for jail inmates, and other topics related to local detention. The NIC Academy Division, on the other hand, offers training pertinent to all components of corrections, such as courses in correctional leadership and management development and courses designed to build the training capacity of correctional agencies.
Finally, the NIC Information Center provides information on the full range of management and operational issues in jails, prisons, and community corrections agencies. Corrections specialists are available to discuss the specific information needs of practitioners, researchers, and others. Information Center staff assemble and ship materials to each client at no charge.
NIC could most immediately serve Rio Arriba County by providing short-term technical assistance related to the development of a management information system. Although the scope of NIC's services precludes us from the actual development of an information system, we could send someone to the Rio Arriba County Jail to:
review the current information system, including the types of information collected, the way in which it is collected, and how the information is used;
help local officials and jail practitioners determine what they want to achieve with an expanded or improved management information system;
help local officials and jail practitioners determine the types of information they need to collect and collection strategies that will produce the reports that will best serve their goals;
help local officials and jail practitioners identify strategies for collaboration among agencies that will ensure the information system effectively contributes to broader criminal justice and public health goals.
NIC understand that the SEARCH group is prepared to do extensive work with Rio Arriba's public safety information systems and can provide services well beyond the scope of what NIC can offer. However, NIC can contribute expertise and services specifically as they relate to the jail component of the information system. Also, as Rio Arriba County explores its information system needs, it may identify areas of jail management and operations that need improvement. In that case, NIC will offer its full array of technical assistance, training, and information services to the County.
If you have questions about this letter or our services, please call me at (800) 995-6423, ext. 101. We look forward to working with you on this project.