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ERIC Number: ED508247
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 48
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 10
The Effects of Postsecondary Correctional Education: "Final Report"
Winterfield, Laura; Coggeshall, Mark; Burke-Storer, Michelle; Correa, Vanessa; Tidd, Simon
Urban Institute (NJ1)
The research presented in this report examines the effect of prison-based postsecondary education (PSE) on offenders both while incarcerated and after release. Urban Institute researchers worked with the staff of four institutions in three states to conduct inmate focus groups and stakeholder interviews to explore the motivations for enrolling in PSE, the impact of PSE on offenders while incarcerated, and the expected benefits after release. Inmates and other stakeholders were enthusiastic about PSE programs offered at each of the four facilitates visited by the researchers. A consistent theme across respondents and locations was that PSE has a positive impact on inmate behavior and that participating in PSE increases feelings of self-esteem. Inmates typically believed that participation in PSE would increase their employment prospects after release; however, many saw further education beyond that received in prison as necessary to reach their employment goals. Inmates reported a number of challenges to engaging in prison-based PSE; among them, the availability of quiet space to study, access to electronic resources, and lack of cooperation by correctional staff. The analysis of postrelease recidivism yielded evidence of a consistently negative association between PSE participation and recidivism. In each of the three states, prisoners who participated in PSE were less likely to recidivate during the first year after release. The magnitude of the effect size estimates reached both substantive and statistical significance. While these findings are encouraging, they should be viewed as promising, but not conclusive, evidence of the potential of correctional PSE to improve postrelease outcomes for prisoners. Appendices include: (1) Flow Chart for Selection of Candidate Study Sites; (2) Detailed PSE Information by State System; (3) Focus Group and Stakeholder Interview Sites; (4) Focus Group and Stakeholder Interview Questions; (5) Preparation of Administrative Data for Analysis; and (6) Detailed Outcome Analysis by State. (Contains 15 tables, 1 figure, and 9 footnotes.)
Urban Institute. 2100 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 202-261-5687; Fax: 202-467-5775; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education
Authoring Institution: Urban Institute
Identifiers - Location: Indiana; Massachusetts; New Mexico