Educated Prisoners Are Less Likely to Return to Prison

Vacca, James S.
December 2004
Journal of Correctional Education;Dec2004, Vol. 55 Issue 4, p297
Academic Journal
Since 1990, the literature has shown that prisoners who attend educational programs while they are incarcerated ore less likely to return to prison following their release. Studies in several states have indicated that recidivism rates have declined where inmates have received an appropriate education. Furthermore, the right kind of educational program leads to less violence by inmates involved in the programs and a more positive prison environment. Effective Education Programs are those that help prisoners with their social skills, artistic development and techniques and strategies to help them deal with their emotions. In addition, these programs emphasize academic, vocational and social education. The inmates who participate in these programs do so because they see clear opportunities to improve their capabilities for employment after being released. Program success or failure is hampered. however, by the values and attitudes of those in the authority positions over crowded prison population conditions and inadequate funding for teaching personnel. supplies and materials. In addition. recent studies show that most inmates are males who have little or no employable skills. They are also frequently school dropouts who have difficulties with reading and writing skills and poor self-concepts and negative attitudes toward education. Literacy skills in learner-centered programs with meaningful contexts that recognize the different learning styles, cultural backgrounds and learning needs of inmates are important to program success and inmate participation. Inmates need education programs that not only teach them to read effectively hut also provide them with the necessary reinforcement that promote a positive transition to society when they are released. Efforts in this direction would help stimulate better participation of inmates in all prison education programs and will go a tong way to help the prisoner rehabilitation process.


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