ERIC Number: ED401849
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995
Learning Their Lesson: The Impact on Recidivism of Providing College Courses to Inmates.
Nelson, Steven D.
The University of Great Falls (UGF), in Montana, operated a distance learning system called Telecom, which combined video-taped instruction with weekly scheduled on-line telephone discussions between class members and instructors. At the site at the Montana State Prison for Men, Deer Lodge, Montana, the primary users were inmates. However, termination of the government guaranteed loan program, elimination of Pell Grants, and other funding difficulties led to a decision by the University to close the Deer Lodge site at the end of the spring semester 1997. In an effort to obtain State funding by demonstrating a concrete benefit of the program, UGF undertook a study of all the male offenders who participated in UGF's Telecom program between July 1, 1984 and June 30, 1995 to determine if the program reduced recidivism. The study included a literature review and used as the control group the general population at the Deer Lodge prison. Findings suggested that: (1) mere participation by offenders in the Telecom program did not result in a lower rate of recidivism; in fact, inmates taking more than 32 credits had much higher recidivism rates than those taking fewer than 32 credits; (2) grade point average may be an indicator of recidivist tendency, with those earning higher grade point averages showing low rates of recidivism; and (3) if financial aid were provided only to inmates eligible for release within a relatively short period, provision of such a program would probably reduce recidivism. (Contains 27 references.) (MAH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A