Prison Education Essay

4573 Words May 5th, 2012 19 Pages
Proceedings of The National Conference On Undergraduate Research (NCUR) 2009 University of Wisconsin La-Crosse La-Crosse, Wisconsin April 16 - 18, 2009

Prison Culture, Education, and Recidivism Rates
Caleb L. Fry and Lauren T. Rios Department of Anthropology Lake Tahoe Community College One College Drive South Lake Tahoe, California 96150 USA Faculty Advisor: Daryl G. Frazetti Abstract
Given the number of inmates in the prison system and the high level of recidivism, it is important to seek out possible solutions to this growing problem. By implementing more educationally and vocationally oriented programs it is possible that current recidivism rates can be reduced, thereby offering some relief for existing overcrowding conditions.
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Table 1. percentage of educational programs offered at federal, state, and local levels2 Institution Type Federal Prisons Academic Program Type Adult Basic Secondary Post Secondary Vocational Adult Basic Secondary Post Secondary Vocational Adult Basic Secondary Post Secondary Vocational Percentage Offered 97.40% 98.70% 80.50% 93.5% 80.40% 83.60% 26.70% 55.70% 78.50% 60.40% 26.70% 6.5%

State Prison

Local Jails (avg. for all in US)

Although several educational programs are widely available, many inmates are unable to take advantage of them, do not complete them, or lack follow up in the form of ongoing support services once released from the correctional system. The following table displays this concern: Table 2. national and state data on inmate participation and completion . Approximate Numbers 1993-2007: Institution Type Total Number of Inmates System 165,000 167,717 Number of Inmates Enrolled in Education Programs 54,000 87,624 Rate of Attendance, At Completion of Course 50% 60% Rate of Completion

State System Federal System

4% 20%

Education has played a prominent role in our correctional institutions over time. Unfortunately, there are many prisons which have failing programs with high drop-out rates, poor participation, and weak or non-existent postrelease support. In addition, funding cuts in all levels of government have forced many to reduce their offerings or close programs altogether. It has become apparent that there are
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