Successfully Implementing a Full Mandatory Attendance Policy in the Arkansas Department of Correction School District

Glover, William V.
September 2002
Journal of Correctional Education;Sep2002, Vol. 53 Issue 3, p101
Academic Journal
The Arkansas Department of Correction School District was established in 1973 by legislative action. The prison board also served as the school board. Initially, inmates were required to attend school if they scored less than fourth grade on the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT), did not have a high school diploma or its equivalent, and were under 50 years of age. The district met with some resistance and attempts to undermine the school program from prison administrators who saw the school program as an added security problem. The district grew, as the prison population grew, in large part because the school was funded almost entirely from state education funds rather than correctional funds. The Arkansas Department of Correction did provide facilities and utilities for the district. The educational program gained a measure of respect over the years, and the school staff came to be viewed as competent by the prison administration. The issue of raising the mandatory attendance requirements was studied for several years. The decision was made to raise the mandatory attendance level incrementally until all inmates without a high school diploma were required to attend school. Prison officials who were interviewed claimed that the mandatory attendance policy had been a success, enabling more inmates to earn the GED diploma as well as enhancing security by providing more inmates with constructive activities in a positive atmosphere.


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