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CEA promotes benefits of correctional education. (Chapter/Affiliate Spotlight).

The Correctional Education Association (CEA) began as an interest group that formed within the American Correctional Association (ACA) in 1930. As interest in correctional education grew, so too did the group, which became a nonprofit international organization in 1946.

The association became very active, hosting its own conferences and meetings, and by the late 1970s, it hired the first executive director. CEA has developed standards for correctional education and has the only such accreditation program recognized by ACA. The approximately 3,400 members includes teachers, administrators, librarians and counselors, in both juvenile and adult correctional facilities.

CEA's goals are to increase its members' expertise, involve them in a supportive professional network, increase the quality of educational programs, offer practical information to fellow staff and represent the interest of correctional education.

CEA helps increase its members' skills in a variety of ways. Each year, during its annual conference, CEA offers numerous professional development workshops on topics such as literacy, special education, learning disabilities, postsecondary education, vocational education, library services and counseling. Also, the association is divided into nine regions in the United States and Canada, each of which hosts its own conference.

Additionally, CEA publishes a newsletter, CEA News and Notes, and a journal, The Journal of Correctional Education, quarterly to keep members abreast of association news and the latest research. It also publishes an annual directory of correctional educators and occasionally produces the Yearbook of Correctional Education.

CEA works to increase the quality of educational programs and advocates the benefits of such programs, often collaborating with local and federal representatives. Currently, CEA is working with Congress on an existing program that provides funds for postsecondary correctional education. "We're making some changes and some enhancements," says CEA Executive Director Stephen J. Steurer, namely obtaining more funding and removing the age limit so any inmate may receive postsecondary instruction.

CEA continues to grow and conduct research, which at this time, includes recidivism studies. In fact, the association just completed a four-year study, The Three-State Recidivism Study, which was submitted to the Department of Education and has received national recognition. The study, which CEA is replicating in Pennsylvania, examined whether education had a significant impact on inmates after their release from prisons in Maryland, Minnesota and Ohio.

That type of research, Steurer says, is powerful when confronting the continuing problem of tightening budgets, since educational programs normally are one of the first areas to be cut. "We've had some governors who were considering cutting programs examine the data we put forth and they've rescinded. Recently, the Illinois governor [George H. Ryan] was going to cut all postsecondary education amid a tight budget and he rescinded that order upon examination of the research, which indicated that it would probably cost more in the long run if he cut it," says Steurer, adding that there is tremendous support in Maryland, where Gov. Parris N. Glendening recently requested an increase in correctional education spending even though his budget is tight. "We've been feeling good about the impact of our research on public opinion," adds Steurer.

As a result of its advocacy, CEA is seeing more support for correctional education in recent years. "It's one area where we've been able to convince our politicians that we can make a significance difference," says Steurer.

As for the association's future, Steurer says, "We're looking at ways to reach out. ... We're looking at ways to better serve people."

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Founded: CEA was founded in 1930.

Objective: To increase the expertise of its members; involve them in a supportive network of professionals who are leaders in correctional education; help increase the quality of educational programs and services through technical assistance as well as advocacy; offer timely and practical information to fellow staff; and represent the interest of correctional education.

Leadership: The executive board is comprised of a president, immediate past president, president-elect, vice president, secretary, treasurer, an international representative from Canada and from outside North America, directors from the association's nine regions, and state correctional education directors.

Membership: CEA has approximately 3,400 members worldwide.

Publications: CEA publishes its newsletter, CEA News and Notes, and journal, The Journal of Correctional Education, quarterly.

Conferences: CEA hosts an annual conference.

For more information: Contact CEA at 4380 Forbes Blvd., Lanham, MD 20706; (301) 918-1915; 1-800-783-1232; fax (301) 918-1846; Web site: www.ceanational.org.

Michele D. Buisch is senior editor of Corrections Today.
COPYRIGHT 2002 American Correctional Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:Correctional Education Association
Author:Buisch, Michele D.
Publication:Corrections Today
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Words:732
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