Perceptions of Inmate-Students' Ability to Succeed

Edwards-Willey, Tina L.; Chivers, Nadia
March 2005
Journal of Correctional Education;Mar2005, Vol. 56 Issue 1, p65
Academic Journal
To examine the perception of instructors who teach in prison college programs, two studies were conducted, the first in 1993 and the second in 2003. Three areas of measurement were included in the survey instrument sent to professors working in the Bali State University's Prison Program, Muncie. IN. The first measurement was that of instructors' perceptions of inmate-students' academic abilities in comparison to students who were enrolled on the university's campus. The second dimension was to ascertain the Instructors' perception of the inmate-students' levels of effort placed into their academic courses in comparison to their on-campus counterparts as well as motivation for enrolling in college courses. The final dimension was that of correctional educators' perception of the prisons' conduciveness to the educational process ranging from correction officials as well as staffs' encouragement of the enrollment by inmates into college programs. A measurement of the actual facilities themselves in terms of class space, library and technological resources were included as well. Comparisons of the two studies, the first conducted in 1993 and the second In 2003, provided viable insight into prison instructors' perceptions of this student population. Both study samples agreed that inmates have equal academic ability to that of on-campus students, and place more effort into their courses than the traditional college student Participants in the initial study as well as the second agreed that inmate-students enrolled in post-secondary education due to a sincere interest in receiving their education as well as to impress corrections and/or court officials. The one dimension where the two sample groups disagreed was with regards to the correctional officials and staff as well as classroom space. Both reported that library and technological resources were lacking in the prisons. The study revealed significant growth in the prison program over the ten-year span of the studies.


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