The Impact of Career and Technical Education Programs on Adult Offenders: Learning Behind Bars

Gordon, Howard R. D.; Weldon, Bracie
December 2003
Journal of Correctional Education;Dec2003, Vol. 54 Issue 4, p200
Academic Journal
The primary purpose of this study was to examine recidivism rates of inmates who participated in educational programs during the time they were incarcerated at Huttonsville Correctional Center in West Virginia. The Education Department at Huttonsville Correctional Center provided files pertaining to inmates who were enrolled in educational programs during 1999-2000. Vocational completers had a recidivism rale of 8.75%, inmates who participated in both GED and vocational training reported a recidivism of 6.71 %, and non-educational participants had a recidivism rate of 26%. GED and vocational training programs had a positive effect on reducing recidivism. Overall, participation of the incarcerated in correctional education programs appears to reduce recidivism. Education is a change agent. Incarceration is meant to change attitudes. The combination of career and technical education along with incarceration for the qualified inmate may help to increase the safety of society when the offender is released. West Virginia Department of Corrections should provide adequate funding and ensure the quality of education throughout both the prison system and the com-munity correction system to further develop social, cultural, academic and vocational learning.


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