National Correctional Recreation Association


Note: This is Strength Tech's web site. This is not an "official" NCRA document.

  • NCRA official web site established Fall 2001

    Our Coverage of NCRA Annual Conferences and presentations
  • Strength Tech's Relationship with the NCRA
  • How to Join the NCRA

  • "Changing the Rules of Recidivism Through Recreation" an NCRA correctional recreation discussion by Steve Erickson and Jeani Stoddard.


    The following information comes from a pamphlet produced by the NCRA in March 1995



    The National Correctional Recreation Association (NCRA) was founded in 1966 by a small group of correctional recreation leaders. These recreation leaders were largely custody officers who had displayed an interest in sports. Finding themselves assigned to the gym and yard areas, directing programs in weight lifting, baseball, and football, they banded together for mutual support and education.

    Today, the NCRA is composed of practitioners at the federal, state and local levels, including juvenile, medical, and community-based facilities. A growing emphasis on inmate health promotion and the professional preparation of future correctional recreation practitioners continues to expand our scope.


  • To create and maintain professional standards in the field of correctional recreation.

  • To create and foster interest in correctional recreation.

  • To inform professionals, inmates, and the public at large of the requirements and benefits of correctional recreation programs.

  • To encourage opportunities for constructive use of leisure time during incarceration and upon release.

  • To help reintegration of the inmate to society through recreational experiences.

  • To provide a means for communication among professionals interested in correctional recreation through formal and informal support mechanisms, an annual conference and training institute and publications..

    NCRA Position Statement

    It is the official position of the National Correctional Recreation Organization that weight lifting programs are an integral part of rehabilitation services within the spectrum of corrections.

    Properly administered weight lifting programs are a vital tool in the daily management of a volatile environment as well as a potentially cost-effective measure. The benefits of these programs can be documented in several areas:

  • The vast majority of incarcerated criminals committed their offenses during leisure time. Programs such as weight lifting give offenders leisure skills to utilize during free time after parole or release.

  • In the commission of a crime, the major contributing factors are often the presence or use of intoxicants and/or firearms. Physical strength and size are insignificant in comparison.

  • Accreditation standards and some court decisions require that institutions offer a comprehensive recreation program with a variety of equipment and supplies. Such programs supply emotional, psychological, and physiological benefits. Weight lifting is a part of a comprehensive program.

  • Inmate idleness during incarceration has been cited as a cause of serious disturbances in institutions. Inmates who are involved in constructive physical activities such as weight lifting are less likely to become involved in disruptive behavior. Thus, weight lifting programs contribute to good institutional management by providing an outlet through which offenders can appropriately relieve stress and anxiety.

  • The positive self-esteem that comes from the self-discipline required to obtain improved physical condition is a vital part of the inmate's preparation for a successful return to society. This is especially true when combined with other programs such as education, vocational skills, and drug treatment.

  • Many correctional systems fund recreational equipment and programs out of monies generated by offenders (ie; store funds, vending machines, and long distance phone call fees). This reduces taxpayer costs in that government funds can be focused on educational, vocational, and security needs while inmates supply funding for their own leisure activities. This promotes a positive work ethic; Linking vocational and recreation programs and enhancing the assimilation of societal norms within the institution and increasing the likelihood that inmates will operate within these norms upon release.

    The task of providing a safe environment of positive change is not an easy one and our tools are few. The elimination of any of these tools would create a void that would be difficult and costly to fill. The reality is that nearly all inmates in our prisons will one day return to society. It is our responsibility to ensure that they have every opportunity to return as more productive citizens that when they came to us. Weight lifting is a vital part for correctional programming and we strongly encourage its continued presence in America's prisons.

  • NCRA Conference Sites

    The annual spring conferences rotate through membership regions to allow maximum line staff participation. We (Strength Tech) have attended 14 of the last 15 conferences as a vendor (missed Sante Fe). We have enjoyed each one encourage other vendors to investigate showing their products and services at the conferences.

    Recent conference sites:

  • 1987 Oklahoma City OK
  • 1988 Atlantic City NJ
  • 1989 Scottsdale AZ
  • 1990 Oklahoma City OK
  • 1991 Altamonte Springs (Orlando) FL
  • 1992 Sante Fe NM
  • 1993 No Conference was held. Moved from fall to spring date
  • 1994 Mystic CT
  • 1995 Seattle WA
  • 1996 Myrtle Beach SC
  • 1997 Fort Collins CO
  • 1998 Oklahoma City OK
  • 1999 East Hartford CT
  • 2000 Fresno CA
  • 2001 Indianapolis IN
  • 2002 Omaha NE
  • 2003 Portland Oregon
  • 2004 Cancelled

    It was announced at the March 2003 conference, the 2004 conference is being cancelled due to current economic, personel, budgetary and other uncertainties in the corrections industry. Plus it takes almost two years to put a conference together and no one had placed a bid for the conference. There is not enough time left to put on a high quality conference and pull it all together.

    Strength Tech
    Membership in the NCRA

    We are corporate members and see the group filling the need for a strong, effective organization in correctional recreation. The NCRA helps everybody. It helps the correctional recreation practitioners by giving them the latest tools and best methods to do their job as well as supplying them with professional growth opportunities. These practitioners then help the inmates by running more effective, safer programs. It helps industry suppliers, like us, by providing an annual conference for showing our equipment to the industry and interacting with their members. It provides a forum through which professionals can voice their opinions to others outside the industry on items such as the issue of Weightlifting in Prisons. We support the NCRA's efforts and encourage you to become a working member of this fine organization.

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