CDCR leaders improve education through collaboration

Correctional leaders attend a 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 ongoing initiatives and discuss opportunities for expansion:

  • online learning
  • Creating Culture Change in California State Adult Correctional Schools
  • nurture professional interests
  • ensure fairness
  • using education to improve reintegration outcomes.

Attendees were treated to three days of inspirational speakers, over 60 workshops, as well as exhibits and networking opportunities to share creativity and connections.

CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison kicked off the forum with a speech recognizing the importance of rehabilitation education and reinforcing the department’s commitment to advancing these opportunities for the prison population.

“I couldn’t be more proud to lead an organization where everyone, at all levels, recognizes that education changes lives and is essential to rehabilitation and ultimately public safety. We hope to compel other states to redouble their efforts, because it really matters,” said Secretary Allison.

Leading rehabilitation through education

Brant Choate, Director of Rehabilitation Programs at CDCR, also participated and sat on an inspirational panel prior to the forum. Choate provided an overview of his experience and goals leading the state’s prison and parole rehabilitation efforts.

“We know, as you do, that education is the ‘secret sauce’ for reducing recidivism, improving public safety and changing the lives of our students and their families,” he said.

Shannon Swain, superintendent of 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 toward creating a Bachelor of Arts at California State Prison, Los Angeles County.

Additionally, they discussed recent changes to Pell Grant funding and its potential to increase higher education opportunities in prisons. This year’s forum was made possible in large part by Robert Holtz, event co-chair and ACE director for our region. He spent months organizing the event and is also a professional instructor at the California Institution for Men.

What is the Correctional Education Association?

CEA provides leadership, direction and services to correctional educators and institutional correctional education programs worldwide. CEA has also been the only professional advocacy group for juvenile justice and adult correctional education with the private sector, political organizations, and social agencies in the United States.

Story by Alia Cruz and photos by Tessa Outhyse
Public and Employee Communications Office

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