Corrections Today: Submission Guidelines

Corrections Today is the professional membership publication of the American Correctional Association. Its international readership includes thousands of individuals involved in every sector of the corrections and criminal justice fields.

Our readers are committed to the advancement of the corrections field, and most play active roles in operating and administrating correctional facilities and systems. They cut across the spectrum of corrections, from individuals employed in correctional institutions, community corrections, and probation and parole to those in juvenile services and academia.

The magazine serves as a forum for presenting and discussing important issues related to corrections, including the presentation of minority or conflicting points of view. Its primary purpose is to offer practical information to promote the development of the field and those working in the field.

Send all submissions and this article submission form to

Managing Editor

American Correctional Association

206 N. Washington St., Suite 200

Alexandria, VA 22314

Fax: 703-225-0179


What kind of articles do we want? We are seeking a broad range of articles. The articles must be interesting and relate to corrections. We're interested in a variety of articles, including service ("how to") pieces, articles outlining new programs and case studies, and articles on how agencies or systems handle controversial issues. We also accept opinion pieces for our "Speak Out" column and personal accounts of on-the-job experiences for "A View From the Line." 

We do not like puff pieces or promotional articles. There should be news, information or an opinion behind the story. Articles, other than opinion or personal-account pieces, should be written in journalistic style using third person rather than first person (avoid using "I, we, me, us," etc.). We want information that can help our readers better understand their profession and the critical issues they face day to day. For this reason, our policy is that any article written by a consultant or an employee of a private firm must be co-authored by a corrections professional or academician. In other words, at least one author must be a practitioner employed by a public agency or nonprofit organization or currently working in an adult/juvenile institutional or academic setting.

If you have not written for us before, send a written query telling us who you are and what kind of article you wish to submit. We'll let you know if your idea has possibilities. If you have an article that already is written and conforms to these guidelines, send the completed manuscript. We'll respond as soon as possible, usually within eight to 10 weeks.

What Makes a Good CT Article?
Most magazine articles are organized in a simple format. First is the introduction. This captures the readers' attention and lets them know what the article will be about. It orients them to time and place and tells them why the subject is important enough for them to take the time to read about it. An anecdote or sample situation often is useful in the introduction — it can be a great way to pique readers' interest.

The middle section of the article develops the topic. This is the "meat" of the article and should explain, simply and clearly, the important points you'd like to make about your topic. When writing this section, try to put yourself in the readers' shoes. Make sure you're being detailed enough and giving enough examples to illustrate your point so they clearly understand the program, strategy or situation you are describing.

The final section is the conclusion. This should restate the main point of the article and should include any evaluations or recommendations you may have. 

Finally, every good magazine article has three main qualities: an interesting subject, thorough research and reporting, and an organized writing style. Your article doesn't have to be perfect - our editors will help you enhance it if it is accepted - but it's up to you to give the article focus.

Suggestions on Style
You can do a number of things to make your article come alive for readers. First, you should be familiar with the magazine and the type of material we publish. Reading Corrections Today is the best way to figure out how to make your article fit our readers' needs.

Second, write clearly. In The Elements of Style, William Strunk makes these suggestions:
  • Use the active rather than passive voice;
  • Be specific, concrete and definite;
  • Don't overstate; and
  • Avoid fancy words and jargon.

Submission Specifics
Corrections Today is a peer-review publication. This means that unsolicited manuscripts are sent to ACA members with expertise in the article's subject area for evaluation. Submission guidelines include:
  • Manuscript must be typed and double-spaced. If possible, email it to as a Microsoft Word attachment. You can also send a CD with the article saved in the appropriate format.
  • Ideally, articles should be 2,000-2,500 words.
  • Include your name, title, agency name, mailing address, email address, office or home telephone number, and fax number. Also include a resume or biographical information with your article.
  • We must be notified in writing at the time of submission if you are submitting the article to any other publications. Corrections Today is a copyrighted magazine that has exclusive rights unless permission is granted for reprints.
  • Please do not format the article, as it will need to be reformatted to fit the style of the magazine.
  • If appropriate, submit charts, graphs or diagrams with the manuscript to illustrate the topic. These should be sent as separate files in the program in which they were created.

If Your Article Is Accepted
Articles published in Corrections Today will be edited to conform to AP style, as well as Corrections Today style. You will be given a chance to review the edited version of your article before publication. The association reserves the right to write article headlines and photo captions and to illustrate articles with art or file photos when more suitable photos are not provided by you.

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