ERIC Number: ED392942
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Education behind Bars: Opportunities and Obstacles.
Ohio State Legislative Office of Education Oversight, Columbus.
The Ohio Legislative Office of Education Oversight examined the education programs in adult prisons operated by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC). Telephone interviews with staff associated with each prison facility, interviews with inmates, and structured observations of 12 prison classrooms provided first-hand information on education programs. The study found that, although the ODRC is required to operate a school system that serves all prisons and to provide adult basic education programs and vocational training for prisoners, a number of factors limit the effectiveness of prison education programs in changing skill levels and attitudes of inmates. Extreme crowding in prisons (180 percent of capacity) and the need to maintain a secure environment at all times are the two factors that most affect prison education programs. Other factors include the following: (1) the ODRC's commitment to education is dependent on the availability of isolated funding sources and the preferences of individual wardens; (2) an estimated 50-80 percent of inmates have learning disabilities, but few prison educators have been trained in teaching methods for adult learners and in how to recognize and accommodate learning disabilities; (3) the prison education programs emphasize participation, not completion; (4) teaching strategies in adult basic education and high-school equivalency classrooms have not been adapted to the specific learning needs of an adult prison population; (5) the curriculum does not include instruction in the social skills of self-control, conflict resolution, empathy, and cooperation; and (6) there is insufficient staff development for teachers. Recommendations were made to improve the department's systemwide focus on education, to emphasize completion rather than participation in education programs, and to improve classroom instruction. (Appendixes contain the following: information on recidivism; statistics on the crime rate, prison population, and education enrollment; and 35 references.) (KC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Ohio State Legislative Office of Education Oversight, Columbus.
Note: Appendices and summary printed on colored paper.