Education in Rural County Jails: Need Versus Opportunity

Gee, Jeremiah
December 2006
Journal of Correctional Education;Dec2006, Vol. 57 Issue 4, p312
Academic Journal
An action research project was undertaken by a GED instructor at a rural county jail. A survey tool was developed to determine if the perceived needs of the students were being met by the educational and rehabilitative programs currently offered to them. Data from the survey were grouped into four domains: perceived inmate need, attitude toward current opportunity, motivational characteristics, and comments on recidivism. During the course of inquiry, it was noticed that the third of these categories, motivational characteristics, could be broken down further into four sub-categories, according to Parsons and Langenback's (1993) study. These categories of motivation are as follows: cognitive control, which is learning for the sake of learning; goal orientation, where participation is seen as means to a certain end; activity orientation, which is participation in order to be around others or ‘do something;’ and avoidance posture, participation in order to avoid a negative stimulus. Analysis of the data upheld the expectation that goal orientation was a key component of motivation. Trends showed that participants were significantly satisfied with the current educational programs and that they desired more frequency and variety of programs. A comparison was made between the inmates' responses and the opportunities afforded to them; a discussion of implications for correctional education follows.


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