This article presents a brief history of the National Institute of Corrections' (NIC's) involvement in restorative and community justice initiatives.
As far back as 1993, NIC's Community Corrections Division began studying community-oriented work practices. More specific initiatives began with the designation of Madison, Wis., and Boston as unofficial host sites for NIC-funded collaborative programs between community corrections and police. Soon to follow was the recognition of a concurrent national trend toward community-oriented policing and restorative justice. Early in 1997 the NIC Community Corrections Division selected Deschutes County, Ore., as a development site of community justice. The goal of this project is to help the county develop a justice system that is more focused on crime prevention, promoting safety and security, and repairing the harm caused to victims and the community. A national training needs assessment on community restorative justice was completed in August 1997 by the NIC Information Center in cooperation with the NIC Academy; and on December 12, 1996, NIC sponsored the first mass dissemination of information and concepts on restorative justice through a live, national satellite videoconference from Ft. Lee, Va. In 1998 the NIC Academy will sponsor two seminars on restorative justice in Longmont, Colo. A curriculum development package for the two seminars is currently under development. The NIC's DACUM initiative -- Developing a Curriculum -- is intended to address the field's need for job specifications, particularly as they relate to community and restorative justice. NIC sponsored a meeting with a group of well-known restorative justice leaders and those who advocate a more offender-based focus. Further, led by the National Institute of justice, five regional symposia on restorative justice have been planned or held in various locations around the Nation. NIC is a cosponsor of the symposium series.