The Importance of Educating Jail and Prison Inmates Essay

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This paper explores the benefits provided by educational programs in jails and prisons. Included are the reasons inmates need education in order to successfully reenter society once they are released and use the knowledge and skills they have learned to obtain a job in order to support themselves and their families. Also examined in the paper are the financial benefits of incorporating educational programs instead of cutting them, as well as the effect these programs play on the recidivism rate. Lastly is a focus on understanding the importance of education and job training, even though the recipients are criminals.


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In a report from Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative, Steurer, Linton, Nally and Lockwood (2010) found that 94% of state and federal inmates recognized education as the top personal reentry tool they needed before being released (p. 41). Inmates clearly understand the importance of education in their success once they are released, and it is time to provide them with the skills they need while they are incarcerated. According to Pam Levan, an adult education teacher in the Laporte County area for over twenty years, ”They [inmates] didn’t have enough basic education to know they shouldn’t do certain things that would lead them to prison, or even know the difference between right and wrong” (personal communication, December 2, 2013). Not only are inmates lacking school education resulting in a high school or college diploma, but many also lack common knowledge on what they should and should not do in society. Many inmates grew up in a family and/or neighborhood that did not teach them right from wrong but rather reinforced a life of crime. Education is the key to decreasing the cycle of crime because it allows inmates to learn from their mistakes and have a better chance at a life without crime upon their release. In order to support themselves and their families, it is crucial inmates find a job upon their release. Without at

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