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You are here: ED Homepage > OVAE > Adult Education > Correctional Education > Mission
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Mission of the Office of Correctional Education

In April 1991 the U.S. Department of Education created a new office to provide national leadership on issues in correctional education. The Office of Correctional Education (OCE) provides technical assistance to States, local schools, and correctional institutions and shares information on correctional education. The office was authorized by the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act Amendments of 1990 (Public Law 101-392). Public Law 101-392, Title VI, Part A delineates the functions of the Office:

  1. Coordinate all correctional education programs within the Department of Education;
  2. Provide technical support to State and local educational agencies and schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on correctional education programs and curricula;
  3. Provide an annual report to Congress on the progress of the Office of Correctional Education and the status of correctional education in the United States;
  4. Cooperate with other Federal agencies carrying out correctional education programs to ensure coordination of such programs;
  5. Consult with, and provide outreach to, State Directors of Correctional Education and correctional educators; and
  6. Collect from States a sample of information on the number of individuals who complete a vocational education sequence, earn a high school degree or general equivalency diploma, or earn a postsecondary degree while incarcerated and the correlation with job placement, job retention, and recidivism.

In addition to the functions outlined above, OCE is currently providing grants for:

Grants to States for Workplace and Community Transition Training for Incarcerated Youth Offenders

Under this formula grant program, authorized by the Higher Education Act as amended (Public Law 103-382), the U.S. Department of Education awards grants to state correctional education agencies to provide postsecondary educational services to incarcerated youth offenders, age 25 and under; within five years of release or parole; and serving their sentence in a State prison. These programs assist and encourage incarcerated youths to acquire functional literacy, life, and job skills through the pursuit of a postsecondary education certificate or an associates or bachelor's degree while in prison. In addition, employment counseling and other related services may begin during the period of incarceration and continue through prerelease and while on parole.

Life Skills for State and Local Prisoners Program

Under this discretionary grant program, authorized by the National Literacy Act as amended (Public Law 102-103), the U.S. Department of Education awards approximately $15 million, over a three-year grant period, for grants to assist State or local correctional or correctional education agencies in establishing and operating programs designed to reduce recidivism through the development and improvement of life skills necessary for the reintegration, of an incarcerated individual, into society.

The following previously funded programs were also designed to serve as national demonstration sites in correctional education:

Demonstration Projects to Expand or Improve Access to Quality Vocational Education Programs for Individuals in Correctional Education

Under this discretionary grant program, authorized by the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act Amendments of 1990 (Public Law 101-392), the U.S. Department of Education awarded $2 million for eleven grants in 1992 and $2 million for five grants in 1994. The most recent program was reserved for applicants proposing to demonstrate successful cooperation between the private sector and public agencies in vocational education programs for incarcerated individuals.

Demonstration Projects to Establish a System-Wide Functional Literacy Program for Adult Individuals in Correctional Education

Under this discretionary grant program, authorized by the National Literacy Act as amended (Public Law 102-103), the U.S. Department of Education awarded approximately $5 million for eleven grants to demonstrate model functional literacy programs for incarcerated adults. This program was last funded in 1992. OCE does not anticipate any further funding for this program.

For more information on funding, please see our funding opportunities page, or contact OCE.

This page last modified—March 17, 2003 (syr).

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