ERIC Number: ED383859
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995
Reference Count: N/A
Prison Literacy Programs. ERIC Digest No. 159.
Mastery of literacy skills may be a preventive and proactive way to address the problem of the high cost of imprisonment and the huge increase in the prison population. However, correctional educators contend with multiple problems in delivering literacy programs to inmates. Findings of the National Adult Literacy Survey indicate that, of the 5 levels measured, 7 in 10 inmates performed on the 2 lowest levels. Only 51 percent of prisoners completed high school compared to 76 percent of the general population. Some constraints on correctional education are as follows: overcrowding; prisoners' negative early schooling experiences, lack of self-confidence, or poor attitudes about education; uniqueness of prison culture; and more seriously, conflicting beliefs about the goals and purposes of corrections; and use of recidivism as an outcome measure. Successful prison literacy programs are learner centered and participatory; they put literacy into meaningful contexts; and motivate and sustain learner interest by providing engaging topics. Literacy programs should be tailored to the prison culture. Incentives are important motivators. Lack of funding and staff can be offset by using community and peer tutors. Model literacy programs include postrelease services. A range of evaluation criteria offers multiple ways to assess program effectiveness: instructional, behavioral, and postrelease. (Contains 15 references.) (YLB)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, Columbus, OH.