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Organization of Correctional Education Services

NCJ Number
Journal of Correctional Education Volume: 58 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2007 Pages: 323-336
Thom Gehring
Date Published
December 2007
14 pages
This article describes and critiques the major types of correctional education organizations over the centuries, with attention to the three modern organizational patterns that can be implemented throughout a correctional system.
Historically, there have been five systems for the delivery of correctional education: Sabbath schools, the traditional or decentralized pattern, correctional education bureaus, correctional school districts (CSDs), and integral education. Sabbath schools were terminated because they violated the constitutional mandate of the separation of church and state. Integral education, which focuses on the personality of the learner, is not practical for implementation throughout an entire jurisdiction. The remaining three systems constitute the three modern correctional education models (decentralized, bureau, and CSD). In a decentralized organization, line authority extends from the institutional administration, through the education director or principal, to the teaching staff. In a bureau organization, line authority is similar to that of the decentralized administration. Staff authority extends from the State director of correctional education (sometimes through a staff of statewide supervisors) through the principal to the teaching staff. In a CSD organization, line authority extends from a jurisdictionwide superintendent of schools, who is qualified according to the standards of other school district superintendents, through the principal, to the teaching staff. The CSD is the current state-of-the art model. It is the only model that corresponds with the predominant and traditional approach for organizing public schooling throughout the United State, i.e., through school districts that are responsible for ensuring that education standards are consistent with community interests. There is a substantial literature that documents CSD effectiveness, but additional work is required in order to maximize the effectiveness of correctional education under the CSD system. 5 figures and 17 references