Correctional Education Association: Connecting Prison Educators for More Than 80 Years

By Christopher Zoukis

Teachers often receive credit for taking part in a profession that ensures a more prosperous future for young people. Educating children is seen as an investment for tomorrow, even if modest teachers often laugh at the idealized perception of their chosen career.

Educators engaged in nontraditional forms of teaching, however, can sometimes be forgotten. Since 1930, the Correctional Education Association has sought to change that. This U.S.-based nonprofit organization is an indispensable resource for prison educators both domestically and abroad. It’s a group made up of educators on the front lines in making for a better tomorrow, but who often face even greater challenges than their K-12 counterparts.   Image courtesy ceanational.org

Providing prisoners with an education, according to most analysts, is a way to positively change both a prisoner’s character and abilities. Prison educators are a critical component in the rehabilitative process and in the criminal justice system overall. The problem is that many of these educators don’t receive the same level of pay or benefits as traditional teachers, and it’s very difficult for them to network, collaborate and advocate their own positions.

The Correctional Education Association is a membership-based organization with the initial purpose of uniting prison educators. Once educators join, however, they quickly discover that uniting prison educators is only a small component of the services offered by this organization.

The Correctional Education Association advocates legislatively for increasing the prevalence of education in prisons and jails. One of the stated goals of the organization is “representing juvenile justice and adult correctional education to broader educational, political and social agencies.” In addition to this work, the organization also attempts to inform broader audiences of its goals through a number of different avenues.

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