By Scott McLemee The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. It has come down a sliver over the past six years: the all-time peak rate was in 2008, with 754 prisoners per 100,000Read More
By Kyle Barnhill
Certainly the prison education issue should be framed in the context of a battle for public opinion. Obviously politicians who influence and ultimately control prison-education policy are elected by the people: John Q. Public. So it makes sense that public sentiment regarding this issue must shift before meaningful change and progress may be made. And ironically, this can only occur one way: public education. Not public education in the sense of tax-funded education, but that of educating the public outside the classroom. Public persuasion. In essence, altering at least a small portion of their worldview. This isn’t an easy task. But it is possible.
And the premise of those who advocate educating inmates can be summed up in one metaphorical principle: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Research, studies, and hard numbers corroborate this claim when considering recidivism. There’s no denying it. Education reduces recidivism and is vastly less expensive than incarceration.
Only the public doesn’t know it.