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Education in Prison Equals Lower Recidivism



Education in prison

Education in Prison: Why Educating Inmates is good for Recidivism

Although recognized  that educated inmates have a greater chance of succeeding upon release, the public and many in the correctional systems refuse to accept this basic understanding. The argument is made– Why should a criminal receive a free education during incarceration. Simply stated, data now proves that inmates educated in prison have a greater chance of obtaining employment upon release. Inmates educated in prison have a much lower recidivism rate than inmates who do not receive the benefit of an education. A low recidivism rate benefits society.

An article by Emily DeRuy of ABC News reported,

“For the few states that have turned to prison education programs to break that cycle, the results are clear. Ohio, for example, reduced recidivism rates by more than 60 percent among ex-inmates who completed a degree in prison. In New York, less than eight percent of the inmates who took college classes wound up back in prison within three years. The re-incarceration rates for those who didn’t take those classes was much higher, at 30 percent.

For those who feel it’s unfair that you commit a crime and essentially get a free education, consider these facts. A study by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy found that for every dollar spent on correctional education, the state saved $12. Another study from the University of California, Los Angeles found that a $1 million investment in incarceration prevented just 350 crimes, while the same investment in education prevents 600 crimes.”

Unfortunately, American society allocates more money to punishment of inmates than educating the inmates, even though this policy results in a much higher recidivism rate. A higher recidivism rate is just an euphemism for more crimes, higher economic  losses, and non-economic damages to society.

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Rosemary C. AndersonPrisonPathTerri LeClercq Recent comment authors
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Terri LeClercq

Thank you for sharing the article and statistics. Here’s a response question: many of us KNOW this logic. It makes common sense. So where does the misinformation come from, and what attitudes or values keep America from using its money more wisely with criminal justice issues across the board?

Rosemary C. Anderson

I have spent almost all my time for seven years volunteering at Spring Grass Book’Em to mail educational books and quality fiction to U.S. prisoners BECAUSE this is one of the most wonderful charities in the world–helping indigent prisoners educate themselves, keep their sanity while locked in solitary confinement (sometimes for years or decades) and sometimes reform their character not only helps them, but it also helps their children and partners, as well as society. A number of inmates are saying that their prison library is closed for lack of funding for a librarian, or that the library is seriously… Read more »