This article serves as a call to action for correctional leaders to address the shortcomings of correctional programming research.
This article discusses the impacts, as well as potential impacts, of correctional research on prisons and jails. The author examines the role of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in correctional research, and the challenges of disseminating research findings to correctional leaders and practitioners. The author proposes that one way to measure the climate of a correctional community is by supporting inclusive research, in which researchers engage those who are affected by the issue, problem, or intervention under study, and incorporate the knowledge stemming from their lived experiences. The correctional community includes all individuals living or working at the prisons or jails, from those who have been sentenced to serve time or are awaiting court disposition, to correctional officers, healthcare workers, teachers, and other staff at all levels. The author suggests that correctional leaders would benefit from inviting researchers that employ inclusive methods, and encourages correctional leaders to support research that measures and routinely reports on program implementation fidelity, and assesses the underlying facility climate. The author recommends that program evaluators should note the overall prison climate, and emphasizes the potential benefit of researchers documenting and sharing implementation challenges with correctional leaders throughout the course of the evaluation. By addressing the difficulties of research in correctional facilities, the author states the benefits of correctional leaders who are discerning consumers of research and work toward successful and healthy rehabilitative prison communities.
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This article originally appeared in the November/December 2022 issue of Corrections Today as submitted by the National Institute of Justice. It is reprinted with permission of the American Correctional Association, Alexandria, VA. All rights reserved.