By Dan Clark Spending money on pre-kindergarten programs now will inevitably save the tax payers of Pennsylvania money in the long run when they are not paying as much to lock up criminals, according to a report by Fight Crime:Read More
We in the prison education industry understand the amazing benefits of providing educational programming to prison inmates. We see the light in our incarcerated students’ eyes. We see the dawning of understanding and enlightenment. And we read the research which shows that correctional education programming is the single most effective tool in our battle against recidivism. While there is no magic bullet for controlling crime, prison education is the closest thing we currently have. This we loudly proclaim to our incarcerated students’ delight and politicians’ exasperation.
All of this we’ve covered in significant detail in prior posts here at Prison Education News. Today I’d like to discuss the ancillary benefits of prison education, those external to reductions in recidivism rates. After all, prison education effects the whole person — the incarcerated student — not merely the statistical rate of former prisoners’ recidivism.
In addition to a significant decrease in recidivism, those in postsecondary correctional education programming commit as much as 75 percent fewer disciplinary infractions than those not engaged in such educational programming, and have drastically improved self-esteem, communication ability, and self-reported hope for a better future. Success improves the incarcerated students’ belief that hard work will yield positive results, and it improves the relationship that inmates have with their families, in particular their children, both while serving their term of incarceration and, most importantly, upon release from correctional custody. In short, the incarcerated students’ outlooks on life — and what is possible for them — improves substantially as the level of correctional education increases.