April 17, 2015
Dear CEA Colleague,
Please join me in celebrating CEA Founder’s Day on April 20th. This date was selected in honor of the birthday of Austin H. MacCormick, generally recognized as the "Father of Correctional Education". Mr. MacCormick was a pioneer of the Correctional Education movement. He dedicated his life to the improvement of conditions in correctional facilities and to the education of inmates.
In 1929 Mr. MacCormick was appointed as the Assistant Director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, responsible for Welfare and Education. Later he conducted a nationwide study of prison education which resulted in his book, The Education of Adult Prisoners: A Survey and a Program (1931). This work is still considered by many to be a primer for prison reform. Later, as the Commissioner of Corrections in New York, he improved vocational education opportunities for inmates by urging wardens to make a moral life possible and desirable by teaching occupational skills.
CEA was founded by Austin MacCormick in 1930 under the umbrella of the American Correctional Association. The Journal of Correctional Education was also founded by Mr. MacCormick in 1937 and in 1946, CEA became an independent organization. In 2005, the CEA board set April 20th as Founder’s Day.
As Correctional Educators, we are certainly indebted to Austin MacCormick for his vision and leadership. His ideas for socializing inmates through literacy instruction, adult basic education, vocational training, library access and exposure to community life are as valid today as in the 1930's. He deliberately set his goals for correctional education programs high and challenged us not to accept difficulty as an excuse for failure when attempting to improve our correctional work. Happy Founders Day to all of you who are involved in Transforming Lives through Correctional Education.
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