The United States accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population, yet incarcerates about 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Examining a wealth of studies by researchers and correctional professionals, and the experience of educators, this book shows recidivism rates drop in direct correlation with the amount of education prisoners receive, and the rate drops dramatically with each additional level of education attained.
Presenting a workable solution to America’s mass incarceration and recidivism problems, this book demonstrates that great fiscal benefits arise when modest sums are spent educating prisoners. Educating prisoners brings a reduction in crime and social disruption, reduced domestic spending and a rise in quality of life.
EXCERPT FROM COLLEGE FOR CONVICTS!
No Easy Way
Prison is a tough place. It can be degrading, painful, and caustic (1) Cages restrain people in a mean-spirited system staffed with workers who are not always held accountable. In most jurisdictions, neither prisons nor jails are designed for reform or rehabilitation. For prisoners trying to pursue a post-secondary education on their own, it is a tough road to travel. But obstacles must not mean defeat. If prisoners are aware of the difficulties, they can prepare for them financially, logistically, psychologically, and emotionally. Here are some of the pitfalls inmates are up against when seeking to become educated. [sic]
Distance learning programs are expensive, and money is hard to come by, especially since the Pell Grants and most student loans are no longer available to the incarcerated.
Prisoners cannot study online; most have no internet access. But almost all distance-learning programs are provided through the internet, so none of the 2,500 online colleges and universities are available to prisoners. For prisoners, they don’t exist. And, what is worse, fewer and fewer schools offer courses by mail as more and more of them go exclusively online each year.
There are snafus in prison mail rooms. In most prisons, the mailroom can, at its own discretion, withhold all or parts of packages and correspondence, even prepaid correspondence courses and materials. It can limit enclosures, prohibit receiving stamps, and increase restrictions that further isolate prisoners from the outside world (2). [sic].. Prisoner-students walk a delicate political line.
(1) Peter Collins, Education in Prison or the Applied Art of ‘Correctional’ Deconstructive Learning,” Journal of Prisoners on Prisons, Vol. 17, No1 (2008).