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National Magazine Shines Spotlight on Penn College Organization

Brandon J. Close Jeremiah C. GeeThe current issue of American Jails features an article written by Pennsylvania College of Technology student Brandon J. Close and Jeremiah C. Gee, assessment coordinator for the college’s School of Integrated Studies.

The article details the inception and development of Penn College’s Collegiate Association for County Correctional Education, a student organization founded by Close in Fall 2008. Close serves as the CACCE president; Gee is its adviser.

Titled “Unlocking Correctional Education for Jails: Step 1,” the article was part of a special-topics issue of American Jails devoted to investigating connections between higher education and correctional education. Close and Gee outlined their experience of developing the CACCE, which is the first organization of its kind in the United States. They wrote the article based on encouragement from American Jails’ editor, Ken Kerle, a widely recognized authority on the nation’s county jails.

“When I told Dr. Kerle about the CACCE, he asked to highlight the organization in American Jails because of its unique focus on meeting the needs of local jails,” Gee said.

The CACCE’s mission is to impact Pennsylvania communities by providing county jails with educational materials. To do this, CACCE members collect educational media and redistribute it to jail libraries. They also tour correctional facilities and advocate development of educational opportunities for those who are incarcerated.

“Raising community awareness regarding the benefits of correctional education is one of our main goals,” Close said. “Research has shown that education plays an important role in rehabilitation and is a key factor in reducing recidivism.”

American Jails is the official publication of the American Jail Association. Its nationwide audience includes jail administrators, county officials and criminal-justice professionals.

“What excites me the most about this publication is the fact that it is read by professionals in the field,” Gee said. “It is a scholarly publication in magazine format, so it does not just sit on a shelf in a library. It is widely read by a variety of people who make important decisions.”

Gee added that he is proud to be involved with this group of Penn College students because of their diligence and creativity. CACCE members come from a variety of programs across the campus, and they are formally affiliated with the School of Integrated Studies because of correctional education’s relevance to Penn College’s general-education curriculum and programs such as human services.

The CACCE has garnered support and encouragement from the executive director of the national Correctional Education Association, as well as corrections officials in Pennsylvania and correctional-education administrators in New York. One local jail has already benefited from the CACCE’s efforts, and another is slated to receive books from the organization this semester.

The executive director of the American Jail Association has asked to run updates of the CACCE’s projects and will recognize the organization again in the upcoming March/April issue of American Jails.

CACCE membership is open to any Penn College student or employee. For more information about joining or supporting the CACCE, contact Close or Gee or visit the organization’s Web site.

To learn more about Penn College, visit on the Web, e-mail or call toll-free (800) 367-9222.

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