1927 - (Funding for Research) The American Association of Adult Education recommended that a grant of funds be made by the Carnegie Corporation to the National Society of Penal Information, Inc. for the study of education and libraries in america's prisons.
1928 - (Visiting Prisons & Reformatories) A director of the National Society of Penal Information, Austin MacCormick, was engaged to visit all the prisons and reformatories for men and women (state, federal, Army & Navy) in the United States. All but three were visited, totaling 110 not including the many road camp and prison farms in the South. The educational programing was so limited that MacCormick realized he must focus not on the findings but on formulating a workable design for effective programming.
1930 - (Committee Established) Austin MacCormick and other members of the American Prison Association (APA) established a standing committee on education at the APA Congress in Louisville. The APA is now known as the American Correctional Association (ACA).
1931 - (The Education of Adult Prisoners) Austin MacCormick, Assistant Director, US Bureau of Prisons, authored the book entitled The Education of Adult Prisoners which is based on his work from 1928. The book ushered in the modern era of correctional education.
October 1937 - (Friends of Prison Libraries and Correctional Education founded) Under the aegis of the American Library Association, Friends of Prisons Libraries was organized, with Austin MacCormick serving as the group’s first Chair. The group also began the first journal in the field, Correctional Education.
1941- (Standards for Evaluating) American Prison Association (APA) adopted "Standards for Evaluating Education Programs in Correctional Institutions." In 1954 the ACA Manual on Correctional Standards included nine essential standards for education. Today there are 14 standards.
October 1945 - (76th APA Congress) Austin MacCormick and a handful of others attending the 76th APA Congress formed what was to become the Correctional Education Association.
1946 - (CEA Established) The Correctional Education Association (CEA) was officially established. Price Chenault from New York was elected the first President.
1947 - (JCE Launched) The first issue of The Journal of Correctional Education was published. Chester D. Owens served as editor.
1963 - Carl Haynie from Missouri began a one year term as CEA’s first elected president.
1965 - The first CEA membership dues were $2.00
1966 - CEA had seven regions, encompassing the continental U.S.
1972 - (News & Notes) The first issue of the CEA newsletter, News & Notes, was published
1973 - (First Conference) CEA held its first separate national conference in Seattle, Washington. Since 1946, CEA meetings had been held at the ACA Congress.
1979 - Robert Terhune from Ohio became the first and only CEA President elected as a write-in candidate.
1981- News & Notes newsletter was established.
1981 - Osa Coffey became the first Executive Director of CEA via a $100,000 Grant from Control Data. She rented an office at 1400 20th Street NW in Washington DC.
1982 - The Council of Directors of Correctional Education was established at the CEA Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
1983 - (Audit of Lorton, Virginia) The CEA Executive Board was hired by Senator Spector to audit the Washington DC Correctional Education programs located in Lorton, Virginia.
1984 - (First State Chapter) Wisconsin became the first State Chapter of CEA.
1984 - Lane Murray of Texas became the first CEA president to serve two terms.
1985 - Ontario became the first Provincial Chapter of CEA.
1985 - Osa Coffee was hired by the US Department of Education to serve as federal correctional education liaison to the states, a position was funded through a grant from the National Institute of Corrections (NIC).
1985 - Marianna Burt was hired as the second Executive Director of CEA.
1986 - The CEA office was relocated to 4321 Hartwick Road, College Park, Maryland.
1986 - Steve Steurer was hired as the third Executive Director of CEA; the position was part time.
1987 - Alice Tracy was hired as a full time CEA office assistant. In 1991 she became the first full-time CEA Assistant Executive Director.
1988 - The first CEA Leadership Forum was held in Georgetown, Washington DC.
1988 - The CEA office was co-located with ACA in the new ACA building in Laurel Lakes, Maryland.
1988 - The first Standards for Adult and Juvenile Correctional Education Programs were published by CEA. There were 31 standards and Osa Coffee served as chair of the standards committee.
1989 - Region 9 (representing Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Otah, and Wyoming) was established.
1989 - In September, CEA co-hosted its first Conference in Europe held at Oxford University in England. The European Prison Education Association (EPEA) was organized at this conference.
1990 - Special Interest Groups and President’s Council (SIGs + State Chapter Presidents) were established.
1990 - CEA held its first international conference outside the United States in Vancouver, Canada.
1990 - Last year CEA recognized an International Teacher of the Year. CEA now recognizes each Regional Teacher of the Year at the International Conference.
1990 - First CEA Yearbook was published. Steen Duguid was the editor. These were published through the 1999.
1991 - An International Representative to the CEA Board was established. In 1994, a second International Representative was established; one was designed for Canada and the other for the rest of the world.
1992 - First autumn CEA Board meeting was held in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho at the Region Seven CEA Conference. The CEA Board now began meeting three times each year.
1992 - John Littlefield of Ohio was elected as the first two-term President since 1962. All the other CEA officers were increased to two year terms as well.
1993 - CEA established its website.
1994 - Steve Steurer was on national television as the CEA’s advocate for continuance of the Pell Grant for inmates (In 1994, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act made inmates and institutions ineligible for Pell Grant funding, which led to the near-disappearance of higher education in prisons).
1995 - CEA celebrated its 50th Anniversary at the International CEA Conference in San Francisco.
1997 - The Standards for Adult and Juvenile Correctional Education were revised and published. They included 68 standards. James Keeley served as served as chair of the standards committee. A CEA Commission on Accreditation was established to oversee the Accreditation process.
1997 - Ohio and Pennsylvania became the first states to receive CEA Accreditation.
1997 - ACA purchased a building and the CEA office moved with ACA to Lanham, Maryland.
2001- The National Institute for Correctional Education (NICE) was established with a grant from US Senator Arlen Spector’s office. NICE was housed at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. It later became inactive in 2006.
2001- The CEA Three State Recidivism Study was released. Due to the positive findings, CEA received favorable national and state political and media attention.
2004- The CEA Executive Director position was increased to half time.
2004 - Juvenile Correctional Education Specific Standards were published by CEA. James Keeley served as served as chair of the standards committee..
2005 - CEA purchased its first office at 8182 Lark Brown Road in Elkridge, Maryland.
2006 - A dedication was held for the CEA Board at the CEA office to honor Austin MacCormick. A portrait of Austin MacCormick was unveiled at the dedication. It was painted by an inmate artist from Ohio. Austin MacCormick’s great nephew spoke at the dedication.