Article Submission

Now's the time to consider penning an article in American Jails magazine to tell your story... how you went from having a problem to how you found a solution. Your experiences and expertise can greatly assist individual agencies in particular and the field of local corrections in general.

For more information about article submissions or guest editorials, contact Sandy Lunsford at 301-857-2258, or click here to e-mail her.

Editorial Guidelines for Submitting Articles to American Jails Magazine
 Thank you your interest in American Jails magazine, published by the American Jail Association (AJA), a professional, membership-based, nonprofit organization that provides support, information, and training to those in the operation of jails. It is the only national association that focuses on issues specific to the operations and personnel of local correctional facilities.

With limited budgets, resources, and personnel, jail facilities face a daunting challenge daily. It is estimated that currently about 12 million people are processed through our Nation’s jails in a year’s period. On any given day these jail facilities, which may range in size from a single bed in isolated rural counties to more than 3,000 beds in large metropolitan cities, have a total estimated rated capacity of almost 1 million inmates. Those incarcerated in these facilities include individuals awaiting trial, those convicted of crimes, and those awaiting transport to State or Federal prisons to serve their sentences. Among this diverse population are the mentally ill, homeless, substance abusers, illegal immigrants, and other special needs inmates.

These factors are why your article is important to us and our membership. A major part of AJA’s mission is to provide this Nation’s jail personnel with useful information, lessons-learned, best practices, and research that can make a positive impact on administration, staff, inmates, and the community.

We encourage authors to submit articles that address the various issue spotlights; however, we do accept articles that may not be representative of a particular issue’s spotlight. Our goal is to produce a well-rounded, balanced magazine that addresses many topics and is of interest to a wide variety of readers.

The following are guidelines for your consideration when submitting an article to American Jails magazine. If in reviewing these guidelines and general information you have any questions, contact Sandy Lunsford at 301-857-2258, or click here to e-mail her.


American Jails is disseminated to our 4,000-plus members and has a pass-along readership of approximately 20,000 individuals. Our readers range from the correctional officer to the sheriff or jail administrator and represent those involved in administration, facility operations, inmate programming, health care, security and special ops, staff training, food services, academe, and community/volunteer services.


American Jails is published bimonthly. The printing and mailing occur during the first month of the noted edition. Note that copy deadline date also applies to the regular columns that appear in each edition of the magazine. Deadlines for article copy are different from those for advertising materials. For article copy deadlines, please consult the Editorial Calendar.

We encourage authors to submit articles that address the various issue spotlights; however, we do accept articles that may not be representative of a particular issue’s spotlight. Our goal is to produce a well-rounded, balanced magazine that addresses many topics and is of interest to a wide variety of readers.


As part of its commitment to its members AJA makes every effort to produce a quality publication. To accomplish this we need to make specific demands on our article and column authors. As we also have limited resources and staff, we request that authors please observe the following:
  • Submit articles, via e-mail, in MicroSoft® Word® to Sandy Lunsford.
  • Use only one “letter space” between sentences and double line spacing between paragraphs. Do not indent the first line of paragraphs.
  • Article text should be in 12 point Times Roman. Use boldface and/or italics sparingly in text. Do not use all caps.
  • Rule of thumb for article length—use just enough words to tell the story, but limit article length to less than 3,500 words, which includes any References or Resources and author biography.
  • Authors should include a short (75 words or less) biography (per author) at the conclusion of the article. Please provide a telephone number and/or e-mail address where readers seeking additional information may contact you. We also require a mailing address to which we can send three complimentary copies of the magazine.
  • If including a Resource or References list with your article, make sure all those resources/ references noted in the body of the text correspond to those noted in the listing at the end of the article and vice-versa.
  • We prefer that individual references follow the reference system found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, but we will accept citations following the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed.
  • However, please do not use footnotes. Footnotes should be incorporated into the text or cited in the References/Resources list.
  • Place any tables or boxed information at the end of the article with call-outs in the text for placement.
  • Be cognizant of product trademarks and service marks.
  • Do not embed photos or other graphics within the article as their resolution is not high enough for four-color printing. Authors should provide either high-resolution (300 dpi or greater) electronic files (JPEG, TIFF, or EPS) or hard copy photographs. Although color photos are preferred, black and white photos are accepted. Please identify each photo clearly. Hard copy photos may be mailed to Joel Huffer, American Jail Association, 1135 Professional Court, Hagerstown, MD 21740. If you have questions, contact him at 301-857-2224. Because of photo/graphic quality and/or space limitations, we cannot guarantee that photos/graphics will be included with the article.
  • Any facility staff, adult inmate or juvenile offender, or other person appearing in photos that accompany an article are acceptable provided the author has obtained written model releases from each individual authorizing the use of their image(s) in the article. In the case of juveniles, parental or guardian consent is needed.
  • Because of very strict copyright laws, please do not include song lyrics or poems in your article unless you agree to pay the usage fee. (Note that a recent article included four lines from a song. The company who owns the rights to the lyrics and music requested a $500 usage fee.)
  • Note that tables or lists taken from other publications may be considered under that publication’s copyright.
  • If your article or a version of your article is posted on the World Wide Web, we ask as a professional courtesy that if AJA decides to publish the article, the article be removed from the website. If there is still a need for the article to posted on a website after article appears in American Jails, the author must inform AJA, use the final AJA version of the article, and add the copyright terminology provided by AJA. This does not apply to reprinted articles that appear in American Jails. If the copyright for the article is owned by the website, then permission is needed in order to publish the article.


Although American Jails magazine prefers articles that have not previously appeared in, or been submitted to, other publications, there are occasions when a previously published article contains information of significant interest and importance to our readers. Please contact Sandy Lunsford at 301-857-2258, or click here to e-mail her for additional information regarding the submission of previously published articles.


All authors should proofread their articles for misspellings and grammatical errors before submission. Once submitted, all articles are edited for grammar, clarity, and conciseness by AJA Communications Staff. Articles are also edited to the style guidelines/standards of the American Jail Association.

Because of space limitations or other pertinent reasons, AJA does not guarantee an article will appear in a specific issue. Also because of clarity and/or space limitations, from a few sentences to several paragraphs may need to be eliminated or paraphrased.

Should editing prove extensive, the author(s) will be contacted and given the opportunity to review the edited article for accuracy.


Upon the publishing of each edition of the magazine, AJA sends each author one copy of that respective edition and an electronic version (PDF) of the article. Additional copies may be purchased here.


As a matter of course, American Jails does not publish company-issued media or product releases. However, the magazine will publish appropriate articles in which a vendor and an agency/facility have worked together to solve a problem or obstacle. Please contact Joel Huffer at 301-857-2224 to discuss before making a submission. AJA does have several advertising options available for new products. Click here to e-mail Katie Younkins for more information.


American Jails does not solicit articles for which remuneration is expected. American Jails is a copyrighted magazine and has exclusive rights to grant permission for reprints.


Chris Daniels, MPA, CAE
Executive Director and Publisher

Jody West
Interim Director of Marketing & Communication

Sandra L. Lunsford
Communications & Publications Manager