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ERIC Number: ED521128
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 28
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 25
Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons. Issue Brief
Gorgol, Laura E.; Sponsler, Brian A.
Institute for Higher Education Policy
As policymakers consider ways to increase educational attainment, generate future economic growth, and reduce public expenditures, educational opportunity for the incarcerated population should be a meaningful component of policy strategies. Designed to increase knowledge about how states are providing postsecondary education to incarcerated individuals, this brief rests on results of a national survey of state correctional education administrators (CEAs), presenting unique policy relevant information on the availability, administration, and funding of postsecondary correctional education (PSCE) in state prison systems. A central purpose of the brief is to elevate the policy attention paid to postsecondary opportunity for incarcerated persons. The data for this brief were gathered from a 19-item Web-based national survey of correctional education administrators (CEAs). Forty-three states responded, for an 86 percent response rate. Findings and discussion of the survey highlight student enrollments and completions, instructional methods, eligibility requirements, and funding sources of postsecondary education programs in state prison systems. On the basis of the findings of this study, the author offers three recommendations to facilitate effective policy innovations in the area of PSCE. Following these recommendations would advance public policy goals of increasing skill and educational acquisition for incarcerated persons and reducing unsustainably high recidivism rates. Prisoner Access to Postsecondary Education Survey is appended. (Contains 2 figures, 4 tables and 8 footnotes.)
Institute for Higher Education Policy. 1320 19th Street NW Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-861-8223; Fax: 202-861-9307; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Authoring Institution: Institute for Higher Education Policy