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NIC takes training on the road.

Willie Nelson's song "On the Road Again" could well be the theme song for the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Academy's Regionalization Program - it's all done "on the road." Through Regionalization, the Academy supports a network of correctional trainers who volunteer their time to provide training opportunities to other trainers and practitioners in their regions.

For the program, the Academy established four regions of the United States: Northeast, South, Central and West. Each region has 10 volunteer regional field coordinators (RFCs) - two each from prisons, jails, community corrections, juvenile justice agencies and the Federal Bureau of Prisons - who coordinate regional training networks and plan regional meetings and training events. Generally, RFCs serve for two-year periods, after which they become "alumni." Two RFC alumni assist the RFCs and NIC as resource specialists.

Since its inception in 1990, the program has grown steadily. The number of events planned in the regions has expanded from one per year to as many as seven. The Regionalization Program is now recognized nationally by corrections professionals as a means of bringing quality training close to home. For NIC, it has become a cost-effective strategy to build capacity in the field of correctional training.

The Academy provides financial and staff support for activities initiated by the RFCs. Program specialists work closely with the RFCs to facilitate the planning and organization of regional training and other activities, which include curriculum fairs, train-the-trainer workshops, video- and audioconferences, and curriculum and videotape development. State and local trainers participate in regionalization activities at no cost to their agencies, except those associated with travel and per diem.

In addition, NIC provides support for the eight state and local volunteer RFCs from each region to attend an annual planning meeting; RFCs from the Federal Bureau of Prisons attend at their agencies' expense. Historically, this national kick-off meeting has been held each fall at the NIC Academy in Longmont, Colo. This year's meeting, however, was conducted in Long Beach, Calif., in conjunction with the International Association of Correctional Training Personnel conference in November. This afforded the RFCs and the Academy an excellent opportunity to share with many other trainers the value of such a collaborative network.

During fiscal year 1998, which ended on Sept. 30, almost 500 individuals were trained through the Regionalization Program. Activities were often held at state or local training academies or in conjunction with state professional meetings. They included:

* Two seminars in the Northeast on Training for Trainers Management: Development Core Competency Curriculum and one Correctional Training symposium.

* Four seminars in the Central region - one each on Correctional Supervision, Correctional Leadership Development, Systems Approach to Managing Violent Disruptive Juvenile Offenders, and Services and Programs for Juvenile Female Offenders.

* Five seminars in the Southern region, including Training Design and Development, Introduction to Correctional Leadership, Correctional Supervision Plus, Group Ethics and a graphics workshop.

* Seven seminars in the Western region on Correctional Supervision Plus, which expands the Correctional Supervision seminar to include leadership skills.

The credo for the Regionalization Program's 1999 series, "Think Globally - Train Locally," exemplifies the program's goal: to encourage trainers to look beyond their own local areas for assistance and new strategies, and then bring these ideas and techniques back to their own agencies.

Robert M. Brown Jr. is chief of the NIC Academy Division in Longmont, Colo. For more information on the Regionalization Program, or to obtain a schedule of upcoming events for your region or a listing of the RFCs and their telephone numbers, contact the NIC Academy in Longmont at 1-800995-6429. To visit the new Regionalization Web site, go to the NIC home page at, click on "Academy Division," then click on "regional training events."
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Title Annotation:National Institute of Corrections
Author:Brown, Robert M., Jr.
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Dec 1, 1998
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