This article reviews the benefits of long- distance training for correctional staff and inmates via the Internet and satellite, followed by descriptions of existing and planned long-distance training programs sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), and other organizations.
Although it is not a complete replacement for the classroom and on-site instruction, particularly when role-playing is required, long-distance learning technologies provide individualized instruction that is accessible at the convenience of the learner via an Internet connection, satellite feed, or television signal. There are a number of Federal and State long-distance training programs currently being offered to correctional personnel. Under funding from NIJ, the American Correctional Association has developed two online training courses: "Preventing and Managing Riots and Disturbances" and "Pepper Spray." This training targets line staff, managers, and trainers who are working in Federal, State, and local correctional facilities. A long-distance class titled "Internet Resources for Criminal Justice" is another effort by NIJ to keep corrections and law enforcement personnel up-to-date on Internet resources. Distance training programs offered by the NIC include interactive video conferences on managing infectious disease in correctional institutions and the management of staff conflict in the workplace. Long-distance training programs in the planning stages include the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections' (PDOC's) review of proposals for a distance training program for prison inmates. Instructional programs under consideration address bilingual education and information on drug and alcohol abuse. Trade-specific job training is also being considered. Three States (Florida, New York, and Texas) are partnering to develop the Justice Distance Learning Consortium, which will focus on distance-learning programs for incarcerated youths.