ERIC Number: ED392937
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Captive Students: Education and Training in America's Prisons. Policy Information Report.
Barton, Paul E.; Coley, Richard J.
The United States has a history of vacillating between rehabilitation and punishment for prisoners. The current mood is to devote resources to building more prisons and to strengthen law enforcement and sentencing policies. Within the last 15 years, the U.S. prison population has tripled, with minority groups being overrepresented in prisons. Using instruments such as the five-level scale used in the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey, about one-third of prisoners perform at Level 1 (the lowest) and another one-third perform at Level 2. Thus two out of three prisoners cannot consistently perform Level 3 tasks such as writing a letter to explain a billing error, entering information into an automobile maintenance form, or calculating miles per gallon. A survey of the states showed that about 30 percent of all state and federal prisoners have been to classes, half of them for 3 months or more. Only 13 percent had participated in vocational classes. Although corrections spending has grown dramatically at the state level, education budgets have not experienced comparable growth. Among the states, New York and Texas spent the most for education; Minnesota tops the list of per-capita spending on education for inmates. New Jersey spends the most per participating prisoner. In 16 states, all inmates are eligible, whereas 21 systems report that between 70-99 percent are eligible. In most states, between one-quarter and one-half are enrolled. A review of 72 evaluations of prison programs, conducted in 1993, found that 9 of 14 studies showed a positive effect on reducing recidivism and 3 of 4 studies showed a positive effect on post-release employment success. Ten of 13 studies showed a positive effect of vocational education on recidivism, and 10 of 14 showed a positive effect of college education on recidivism. The study did not offer recommendations but delivered the results for policy considerations. (State prison education statistics are included in the study.) (KC)
Descriptors: Adult Basic Education, Correctional Education, Curriculum, High School Equivalency Programs, Outcomes of Education, Prisoners, Program Effectiveness, Program Evaluation, Public Policy, Recidivism, Research Reports, State Programs, Vocational Education
Policy Information Center, Mail Stop 04-R, Educational Testing Service, Rosedale Road, Princeton, NJ 08541-0001 ($9.50 prepaid).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ. Policy Information Center.