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United States Department of Education update.

We have recently welcomed new leadership at the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, the parent organizational unit for the Office of Correctional Education. The President's appointment of Assistant Secretary of Education Brenda Dann-Messier was confirmed by Congress in mid October. Dr. Dann-Messier is most recently the director of a vibrant community based adult education organization, Dorcas Place, in Providence Rhode Island. She has worked extensively with programs for disadvantaged populations and, with her private sector experience and orientation; we expect her to challenge assumptions of how business should be done!

Correctional education seems to be attracting considerable attention in recent months as evidenced by a wealth of newly published resource materials. The final publication summarizing the prisoner reentry roundtable on education held in New York City in 2008 is available under the title, "From the Classroom to the Community, Exploring the Role of Education during Incarceration and Reentry." The comprehensive and well researched paper is available at the Urban Institute website. (Search "Prisoner Reentry Roundtable," then reference roundtable number ten on education and prisoner reentry.) Also newly available and on the Urban Institute's web site, a new study of post secondary education in the prison setting titled: "The Effects of Postsecondary Correctional Education." A global discussion of correctional education is well developed in a new publication of The Working Poor Families Project titled: "Strengthening Correctional Education for Adults." (Available at "") Finally, we were pleased to welcome a new publication at the National Institute of Corrections titled "Creating a Workforce Development Culture to Reduce Reincarceration." (Visit the NIC publications page and insert the title to access the publication on line or to order a hardcopy.) This publication recounts the experience of an ED funded Life Skills project that intentionally addressed personal change and institutional culture in prison workshops, housing units and education program areas through a unified curriculum approach. The project implemented a prescriptive meta-cognitive approach titled "Habits of Mind."

Projects funded under the Second Chance Act of 2007 have recently been announced by the Department of Justice. In addition to the mentoring grants, a strong competition preceded the award of funds for both adult and juvenile reentry demonstration projects by State and local government agencies. (Visit the Department of Justice web site at "Second Chance Act" to see successful grantees listed.) Also of great interest is the Second Chance funded national Reentry Resource Center awarded to the Council of State Governments Justice Center. Thirty six entities applied to host the resource center, so this was an exceptionally keen competition. The Center is already up and running in a preliminary way at ""

We are planning two Webinars in the next two months. Webinars combine the two way audio capabilities of a conference call with both web based presentation materials and on line chat. In December we expect to host State correctional education agency representatives in a virtual workshop on documenting the educational attainment of State prison inmates. Earlier this year, a we sought to obtain census data on State prisoners with a high school diploma or GED, we learned that not all States maintain strong records on this data field. A process of verifying high school diplomas and GED's used in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections will be explicated, and other States will be invited to share alternative methods to meet this information need. We are pleased to feature Pennsylvania because of the quality of the processes in place there and also because these processes were implemented within an organizational culture placing great importance on inmate educational attainment. Pennsylvania takes this data seriously because it is seen as of fundamental importance.

In January, we look forward to hosting a webinar on community based correctional education programs. While we have traditionally used the term "correctional education" to denote education in prisons, many convicted criminal offenders are in community status on probation or parole. Increasingly, "treatment programs" for offenders in community settings are being prescribed to address "criminogenic factors" associated with reoffending. Recent research has illustrated a range of educational interventions for offenders in community status. As states are increasingly undertaking initiatives to reduce incarcerated populations, the development of community based treatment resources becomes more important. Education is one arena for community based correctional treatment programs, and we hope to make a contribution to this body of knowledge. Information about the two webinars or the referenced content is available by emailing:
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Author:Linton, John
Publication:Journal of Correctional Education
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2009
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