Correctional leaders attend forum on advancing education programs
CDCR leaders joined corrections professionals from across the country for the annual Correctional Education Association (CEA) Leadership Forum in Long Beach.
The March 20-22 forum was an opportunity to share current initiatives and discuss opportunities to expand:
- creating culture change in California’s state correctional adult schools
- nurturing vocational interests
- ensuring equity
- using education to improve reentry outcomes.
Participants were treated to three days of inspirational speakers, more than 60 workshops, as well as exhibitions and networking opportunities to share creativity and connections.
CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison kicked-off the forum with a speech recognizing the significance of education in rehabilitation and reinforcing the department’s commitment to advancing these opportunities for the incarcerated population.
“I could not be more proud to lead an organization where everyone, at every level, recognizes that education changes lives and is key to rehabilitation and ultimately public safety. We hope to compel other states to double-down on their own efforts because it truly matters,” said Secretary Allison.
Leading rehabilitation through education
Brant Choate, CDCR’s Director of Rehabilitative Programs, also attended and served on an inspirational pre-forum panel. Choate provided insight on his experience and goals with leading the state’s prison and parole rehabilitative efforts.
“We know, as you do, that education is the ‘secret sauce’ to lowering recidivism, improving public safety, and changing the lives of our students along with their families,” he said.
Shannon Swain, Superintendent in CDCR’s Office of Correctional Education, joined Dr. Taffany Lim and Dr. Troy Tenhet of California State University, Los Angeles, for a conversation about the journey to establish a Bachelor of Arts degree program at California State Prison, Los Angeles County.
Additionally, they discussed recent changes to Pell Grant funding and its potential to increase higher-learning opportunities in prisons. This year’s forum was largely made possible by Robert Holtz, event Co-chair and CEA Director for our region. He spent months organizing the event and also serves as a vocational instructor at California Institution for Men.
What is the Correctional Education Association?
CEA provides leadership, direction, and services to correctional educators and institutional correctional education programs around the world. CEA has also been the only professional advocacy group for juvenile justice and adult correctional education to the private sector, political organizations, and social agencies in the United States.
Story by Alia Cruz and photos by Tessa Outhyse
Office of Public and Employee Communications