The History of Correctional Education by Thom Gehring

This is a report on work in progress. It is a work in which we are all involved, wittingly or unwittingly, helpfully or obstructively. It is the work of bringing in a new order . . . and of developing into a better kind of man. The question before us . . . is whether we can do this, and how we can do this, given the circumstances in which we have to work. (Quest, The Politics of Hope, 1972, p. 17)

The correctional education movement began in 1789, when clergyman William Rogers first offered instruction at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Jail. The warden was worried that a riot might result from the revolutionary innovation, so he required that two guards attend the meeting with a loaded cannon aimed directly at the convict students. Everything was peaceful, of course. This incident is indicative of the struggle that has characterized teaching within prison walls ever since. Nevertheless, adult and juvenile correctional education have been on the "cutting edge" of publicly funded education for nearly 200 years, as the following paragraphs demonstrate.

Correctional Education Association Historic Timeline

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