ERIC Number: EJ710950
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Feb-24
Reference Count: N/A
The Promise of a Better Tommorow
Black Issues in Higher Education, v22 n1 p34 Feb 2005
Due to Lack of Funding, the Percentage of Inmates Participating in Education Programs Is Declining, while the Prison Population Continues to Surge Stretching across 1,700 acres in the middle of the desert near the California-Nevada border, the Ironwood State Prison may seem like a forbidding place, but for at least 10 percent of its 4,600 inmates, it has become an institution of higher learning, offering the promise of a better tomorrow. "There are three community colleges in California that currently offer distance-education programs to incarcerated students," said Cheryl Fong, a consultant on the Ironwood project with the California Chancellor of Higher Education's Office. "But the one that is up and running at Ironwood is the oldest, not only offering basic GED instruction, but also a curriculum that makes it possible for an incarcerated student to actually earn their associate's degree." Although the actual number of inmate students--10--who have left the program and the prison is small, so is the recidivism rate: "So far only one has returned," Fong said. "Which means that right now the recidivism rate is 10 percent." That's 10 percent stacked against a recidivism rate that exceeds 75 percent in some parts of the country. For educators and prison-reform advocates, such numbers may seem statistically insignificant. But measured against an exploding national-prison population and the growing number of men and women released each year--more than 600,000 last year they offer a sparkle of hope.
Descriptors: Recidivism, Males, Correctional Institutions, Correctional Education, Institutionalized Persons, Community Colleges, Distance Education, Educational Finance, High School Equivalency Programs, African Americans, Racial Differences
Cox Matthews and Associates, Inc., 10520 Warwick Avenue, Suite B-8, Fairfax, VA 22030-3136. Web site: http://www.blackissues.com.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: General Educational Development Tests