Weava Collection - Research on Education in Prisons (Prisoners, education, prison education programs, inmates, people)
College Behind Bars: How Educating Prisoners Pays Off
- Not surprisingly, newly released inmates are far more likely than other job applicants to be high school dropouts -- and a high school diploma may not be enough. A Georgetown study predicts that half of all jobs created this decade will require some postsecondary education.
- Between 1972 and 1995 inmates who were not sentenced to death or life without parole could apply for Pell Grants and state funds such as New York’s Tuition Assistance Program to help offset the cost of prison education. Early in the 1990s there were 350 postsecondary prison programs in 37 states. But inmate eligibility was withdrawn in the get-tough-on-crime decade. By 2005, only a dozen prisons had postsecondary programs, most of them a patchwork of volunteer efforts by individual colleges and universities.
- Former inmates with jobs also have less need for public assistance and contribute to society, in the form of taxes and purchasing power.
- The Missouri study also shows that inmates’ chances of finding full-time employment are greatly enhanced if they complete an education in prison. A 2005 analysis of 15 other such studies found that, on average, reincarceration rates for participants in prison education programs were 46 percent lower than for non-participants.
- . In New York State, forty percent of all inmates who are released will wind up back in prison within three years.
- A study of Missouri’s prisoners showed that reincarceration rates “were nearly cut in half for former inmates with a full-time job compared to similar inmates who are unemployed.” Every inmate who leaves the system saves that state an average of $25,000 per year. Nationwide, more than 650,000 people were released from state prisons in 2010. By cutting the reincarceration rate in half, $2.7 billion per year could be saved.
Education is the key to redeeming lives in prison (Opinion) - CNN.com
- Facing deep social stigma, many returning citizens feel as though they have left the grips of a physical prison only to find themselves engulfed in a new, social prison. It is tragic but not surprising that 50% to 75% of all people who return home from prison end up incarcerated again within five years.
- since without better options, many will return to the lifestyles that got them into trouble in the first place.
- Every year, more than 650,000 men and women leave prison and return home to communities across America. They are often released with little more than some spare change, a bus ticket and a criminal record that bars access to some of their most basic rights and privileges.
Student Question | Should Prisoners Be Given the Opportunity to Get an Education? - The New York Times
- That, in turn, means restarting prison education programs that were shuttered beginning in the 1990s, when federal and state legislators cut funding to show how tough they were on crime.
College behind bars: Keeping an idea alive | APM Reports
- The city he came from and wants to return to, Richmond, Cailfornia, is plagued by violence, and Wortham felt partly responsible; he said he could see the aftershocks of the murder he committed at age 19 still radiating through his community. "I'm educating myself because I don't want to go out there [as] I came in. I don't want to be the same way, because I would behave the same way."
- At one time, thousands of prison inmates were attending college. About 350 college degree programs operated in prisons.
- States have occasionally paid for college in prison for a few years, and programs would thrive for a year or two and then disappear, when legislators changed their priorities and cut off funding. Some prison education programs are set up as non-profits, funded by donations and run by volunteers. Some inmates take correspondence courses by mail.
- Men in prison have much lower education levels than those outside. Only about 40 percent have a high school diploma or more, compared to about 80 percent for those outside prison.
- Education, it seems, is one of the best and most cost-effective means of achieving that goal.
- Every year 700,000 inmates leave prison, and there is ample evidence that those who have a college degree are less likely to come back.
- The Obama administration signaled at least some change recently when it announced a three-year pilot program called Second Chance Pell. Starting with the 2016-17 school year, it is granting Pell money to about 12,000 inmates in 67 programs at prisons across the country at an estimated cost of $30 million per year.
- "Take pride in getting an education," he wrote. "You will have something to offer to society. Who knows you may be the next big thing in literature."
- Critics say the program is a misuse of executive power. But a U.S. Department of Education spokesman said, "America is a nation of second chances. And the evidence is clear that providing opportunities for education, treatment, and training for everyone - including individuals who have made mistakes and are in prison - is one of the most important things we can do to help people get their lives back on track and become contributing members of society."
- "I have a lot of people counting on me and I want to do the right thing and not let them down ... I'm educating myself because I don't want to go out there [as] I came in. I don't want to be the same way, because I would behave the same way."
- A 2013 report from the Rand Corporation found that when inmates received any kind of educational classes while they were in prison, their recidivism rate dropped by at least 13 percentage points. When they took higher education classes — college programs — their recidivism rate dropped by 16 percentage points.
- "Most of our students on average dropped out of high school between 9th and 11th grade and then completed a GED in prison," Jody Lewen, head of the Prison University Project, said. "A lot of students come in not knowing exactly what a paragraph is, or how to write a grammatically correct sentence, or what it is to write an outline or a thesis statement."
- As a group, prison inmates have, on average, dramatically lower levels of academic attainment than the general population. Thirty-seven percent of people in state prisons didn't finish high school, compared with 19 percent of the general population. More than half of the general population has at least some postsecondary education; only 14 percent of state prison inmates do.
- Malcolm X's essay resonated more with Johnson, particularly the part of his story where he came to prison with an 8th grade education and taught himself by reading the dictionary.
"I like how he took his frustrations and used it as a motivating piece, he was driven to learn to speak better," Johnson said. "And that resonated with myself because I feel I don't speak articulate enough. That's another reason why I want to go to college. So I can learn to better speak."
A College Education for Prisoners - The New York Times
- The number of college degrees awarded to inmates fell from 1,078 in 1991 to 141 in 2011.
- New Yorkers pay about $60,000 per inmate per year — a considerable burden given that 40 percent of those who are released return within three years, most for economically driven crimes.
- But the most effective way to keep people out of prison once they leave is to give them jobs skills that make them marketable employees.
- In addition, research has shown that the public saves $4 to $5 in reimprisonment costs for every $1 it spends on prison education.
- But inmates who attend privately financed college classes before release fare much better.
- President Obama pointed the country in the right direction last year by creating a pilot program that will allow a limited number of inmates to receive federal Pell Grants to take college courses behind bars.
- The report notes that the number of college programs in the state’s prisons fell from 70 in the early 1990s, before state and federal financing streams were cut, to just four in 2004.
- Know-nothings in the Legislature argued that the proposal was “a slap in the face” to law-abiding taxpayers, when in fact it represented a clear cost savings for those same taxpayers.
- A prison education program created by Bard College in 2001 boasts a remarkable recidivism rate of 4 percent for inmates who merely participated in the program and 2.5 percent for those who earned degrees in prison.
Prison Education Reduces Recidivism by Over 40 Percent. Why Aren’t We Funding More of It? | The Nation
- A study on women incarcerated at New York’s Bedford Hills facility was linked to improved family relationships, by demonstrating to family members a commitment to rehabilitation and turning parents into academic “role models.”
- Glenn Martin, head of the reform group Just Leadership USA, which helped advocate for the Pell Grant initiative along with other decarceration measures, attended college himself while serving time in a New York prison. Post-release, he was rejected repeatedly for jobs, he recalls, but “what a college degree did for me was [also] to recalibrate my own moral compass and help me better understand why I was facing all those barriers to the labor market, the stigma I was facing.… I was able to analyze my situation in a much much more complex way.”
- The conservative criticism of the Pell Grant initiative is that the funds somehow “take money” from non-incarcerated grantees, but the pilot program costs basically the equivalent of a budget rounding error. Even before Pell Grant access was cut in the 1990s, incarcerated students used less than 1 percent of total Pell funds, covering about 2 percent of the incarcerated population.
- But educational interventions may have more profound social impacts. Attending college classes has been associated with improved social climate and communications in the prison population, and “reduced problems with disciplinary infractions,” according to an analysis by the Institute of Higher Education Policy (IHEP
- (nearly 690,000 people walk out of prisons each year, and several million will mill through local jails). A college degree can help offset the enormous employment barriers formerly incarcerated people typically face.
- Delivering long-denied educational opportunity behind bars isn’t a process of “correcting” the flawed people inside but of correcting injustice that surrounds communities on the outside.
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- Designed to allow for studying long-term effects of education on recidivism, the program moves toward restoring access to Pell Grants for incarcerated people, which Congress removed in the mid-1990s.
- A 2013 RAND Corporation study showed that participation in prison education, including both academic and vocational programming, was associated with an over 40 percent reduction in recidivism—saving $4 to $5 for each dollar spent.
Why Prison Education?
- A college education has far-reaching capacity to set a good example for these children. A study of the Bedford Hills College Program found that children of the women enrolled in the prison college program expressed pride in their mothers’ academic achievements, were inspired to take their own education more seriously and were more motivated to attend college themselves.
- Survey results from an Indiana prison in the 1990s showed that incarcerated people who were enrolled in college classes committed 75 percent fewer infractions than incarcerated people who were not enrolled.
- According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the average annual operating cost per incarcerated person in 2001 was $22, 650. The annual spending per student for a standard state university such as the State University of New York (SUNY) is below $8, 000
- When children are inspired by their parents to take education more seriously, they too begin to see viable alternatives to dropping out of school and entering a life of crime, thus breaking a harrowing cycle of intergenerational incarceration.
- “I believe education can mean the difference between a life of crime and a productive life. My educational level can influence whether my twin sons aspire to be criminals or whether they have the self confidence to pursue occupations that challenge their minds.” – Gregory Brown, Hudson Link student
- According to a 2009 report from the Correctional Association of New York, a college education has become one of the most valuable assets in the United States; a bachelor’s degree is worth more than $1 million in lifetime earnings.
- The vast majority of people in U.S. prisons do not have a high school diploma. A high correlation exists between the level of education attained by an incarcerated person and his or her recidivism rate.
- Today, an estimated 2.3 million people are incarcerated in the United States. Taken together, states spend over $52 billion annually on corrections and related activities.
- The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) reported in 2011 that nearly 7 in 10 people who are formerly incarcerated will commit a new crime, and half will end up back in prison within three years.
- Studies conducted over the last two decades almost unanimously indicate that higher education in prison programs reduces recidivism and translates into reductions in crime, savings to taxpayers, and long-term contributions to the safety and well-being of the communities to which formerly incarcerated people return.
- One director in New York state noted that disciplinary infractions declined among his students during the course of a semester; another described how incarcerated students policed themselves out of fear of permanently losing their prison education program.
- A study by the Department of Policy Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles found that “a $1 million investment in incarceration will prevent about 350 crimes, while that same investment in [correctional] education will prevent more than 600 crimes. Correctional education is almost twice as cost effective as incarceration.”
U.S. Department of Education Launches Second Chance Pell Pilot Program for Incarcerated Individuals | U.S. Department of Education
- According to a Department of Justice funded 2013 study from the RAND Corporation, incarcerated individuals who participated in correctional education were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years than prisoners who didn't participate in any correctional education programs.
- The United States currently has the highest incarceration rate in the world with more than 1.5 million prisoners.
- As part of the Obama Administration's commitment to create a fairer, more effective criminal justice system, reduce recidivism, and combat the impact of mass incarceration on communities, the Department of Education today announced the Second Chance Pell Pilot program to test new models to allow incarcerated Americans to receive Pell Grants and pursue the postsecondary education with the goal of helping them get jobs, support their families, and turn their lives around.
- The goal is to increase access to high-quality educational opportunities and help these individuals successfully transition out of prison and back into the classroom or the workforce.
- High-quality correctional education — including postsecondary correctional education — has been shown to measurably reduce re-incarceration rates. By reducing recidivism, correctional education can ultimately save taxpayers money and create safer communities.
Measuring The Power Of A Prison Education : NPR Ed : NPR
- There's strong evidence that a range of prison education programs help reduce recidivism and improve a prisoner's chances of thriving once released.
- Some taxpayers say, "Don't spend my tax money on educating criminals. It's better used helping law-abiding citizens."
- Today, we see — looking across the 50 states — about 32 states offer some type of college or post-secondary courses to adult inmates. Unfortunately, these programs are substantially underused because many inmates lack a means to pay for them.
- What we found was that, if an individual participates in any type of correctional education program — whether it be adult basic ed, GED preparation, college education or vocational training — they had a 13 percentage point reduction in their risk of being re-incarcerated.
- About 40 percent of [prisoners] lack a high school education. Sixteen percent of state prisoners have a high school diploma.
- when you look simply at direct costs, we find that for every dollar invested in a prison education program it will ultimately save taxpayers between $4 and $5 in reincarceration costs.
Why Prisoner Education Is Key to Reducing Crime - CityLab
- "you’re keeping people off public assistance by letting someone come home and make a living wage. You’re keeping people off Medicaid. You’re inspiring these people to care about things that other people care about."
- "We grow up in a society that puts a high premium on education from birth," Patrick says. "That's because it's transformative. It turns individuals around in terms of being a good citizen, a good neighbor, and less likely to commit a crime."