Prisons are over crowded and one of the main reasons why is because of recidivism, which is when a convicted criminal commits a new crime and has to go to prison again. The United States recidivism rates is one of the highest rates of recidivism in the world, from the book Principals of Sociology by James M. Henslin, stated that when a prisoner gets released, “Within just three years of their release 68% are rearrested”. How can the US decrease this tremendously high rate? Throughout, this paper it will acquire knowledge about prison education programs.
These programs started to come about in 2007, when the Second Chance Act 2007 was put in, this act helps incarcerated people get education from state, non profit organizations, government, and local help in hopefully lower the recidivism rates. A couple years later RAND created a study on how effective correctional education is. Further more, this study provided the information for more education programs to be put in to the prison system. With these programs in place prisoners get a second chance when they get out of prison.
Throughout, this paper you will acquire knowledge on the effectiveness of these programs, some programs that are in the prisons, and how society can help be more active in these programs to help, donate or be apart of to create these programs for incarcerated people across the US.
Furthermore, to help prisoners transition from prison back to society can be really challenging and for prisoners to have a second chance at getting a good education in the prison system to help them go back into society well. Many prisons in the US offer some educational programs for the prisoners to be successful when they get released these programs offer a high school GED, rehabilitation, mental health programs, job skills training, taking college classes, having a technology class do things that they would do outside of prison.
These programs are very important for the future and the US recidivism rate will decrease.The goal of this paper is to inform what programs that are already in place in the prison system, the pro’s and cons of these programs, how effective these programs are, and what can society do to raise more awareness of this issue, by using different resources and establishments across the US in hope to reduce recidivism.
The way society can raise awareness towards this issue is implementing more educational opputunties to potentially give these ex cons a chance to succeed in the world after 10 or more years in prison. Using the article “5 programs actively reducing recidivism rate” By Megan Wells, the first program, is called Prison entrepreneurship program (also abbreviated to PEP), this program started in 2004 and is a non profit organization, their main goal is to teach men leadership and innovation skills.
In the article Wells stated that “Since the program began in 2004, there have over 1,300 graduates”(Police one), this means that this program Is helping prisoners get somewhere. This program offers a leadership academy, it is a 6 month in prison business certificate program this entails business education when a prisoner completes the program and are released they have to present a business idea to the PEP volunteers.
Also, the prisoners have to complete a “financial literacy course, an employment workshop, a business etiquette course, and a Toastmasters class”(PEP) . The success rates are tremendous. The second program, is the Delancey Street Foundation, this program offers a “Self-help program dedicated to assisting drug addicts, ex-convicts, ex-gang members, and homeless individuals.”(Megan Wells), this program has provided job skills, market education, and skills in the education field.
This program was created about 40 years ago they have now helped “over 10,000 men and women”(Wells), this has helped ex cons get better jobs and have helped improve their lives. The third program, is The Last Mile, this program was implemented in the San Quentin State Prison in California. This program’s goal “Teaches prisoners about technology, digital communication, and business”(Wells), this program is called Code 7370. This program has had successful rates in the prison that has led to a 7.1% reincarnation rate in the prison.Overall, all three of these programs has had great success lower the recidivism rates in prisons across the US. These are just three programs out of a bunch of programs across America.
Prison education programs does have its down sides for example, there aren’t enough programs and how effective these programs are when prisoners are released.Going further, Rand did a study on the effectiveness of correctional education, Rand started this study in 2014. They could start this because of the Second Chance Act 2007. In their study they found that each year 700,000 incarcerated individuals leave prison each year, and within 3 years of being released 40% will either commit a new crime or violated probation.
They went into this study asking four questions which where “What is known about the effectiveness of correctional education programs for incarcerated adults? What is What is known about the effectiveness of correctional education programs for juvenile offenders? What does the current landscape of correctional education look like in the United States, and what are some emerging issues and trends to consider? What recommendations emerge from the study for the US Department of Justice and other federal departments to further the field of correction education, and where are there gaps in our knowledge? What promising practices, if any, emerge from this review and evaluation?”(RAND), these questions help put into place correctional education for incarcerated adults, they put into place basic education, secondary education, vocational education or career technical education, and post secondary education they put these in place in prisons.
The results that they found were that 43% percent of inmates that participated in these programs had lower odd of coming back to prison after they get released.These results are amazing, this study gave prisoners another chance to succeed when they get out and start a new path in there lives.
Also, following along with the success of the RAND study, it helped prison systems save money as well according to an article US news “Prison education programs could save money” By Allie Bidwell, education programs will save prisons money by $4-$5 per inmate when they are released within three years(Period of time when prisoners are released and most likely to come back), this isn’t much, but with saving $4-$5 for each inmate that is being released it can go back into funding for education programs in the prisons and also for people across the US to not pay as much taxes. The overall effectiveness of these programs are amazing, the RAND study helped raise some awareness towards recidivism rates and put multiple education programs into prisons in America.
Now, that programs that are put into place in the prison system, what can society do to help? First, more education programs need to be more available in prisons to every one in that system or location.Continued on, more Internet access would be a success in prison because they could online school, get different certificated. To contribute to these programs they have websites where donations are offered to make the program better, and volunteer options are available. With all of these options to contribute to our rising recidivism rates in our prisons will help to lower the prison population and recidivism rates.
Raising awareness is needed because people who are incarcerated go to jail or prison for 1 or more years, and they sit and do things that aren’t benefiting themselves when they get out because they could go right back to square one and reincarnated for a new crime and that leads to a bigger sentence and then the cycle continues. Volunteering, donating options, even learning about this is good so these programs can be more available to the prisoners so they have a better chance of getting a job, caring for there families, continuing there education, getting housing help, food stamps, and many more.
In conclusion, prison education systems help many ex-cons get the things they need to get a job and help themselves rehabilitate so they can become version of themselves. If education is the way for incarcerated people to get out of what they came from before they got put in prison, then that is a success, they need these programs. These programs, statistics, and cost helps to understand the need for these programs for prisoners.
- Bidwell, Allie. “Report: Prison Education Programs Could Save Money.” U.S.News & World Report, 22 Aug. 2013, www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/08/22/report-prison-education-programs-could-save-money.
- Davis, Lois M.,et al. How Effective Is Correctional Education, and Where Do We Go from Here? RAND Corporation, 2014. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/j.ctt6wq8mt.
- Henslin, James M. “Chapter 6 Deviance and Social Control.” Essentials of Sociology: A Down to Earth Approach, 13 ed.,Pearson, 2016.
- Wells, Megan. “5 Programs Actively Reducing Recidivism Rates.” PoliceOne, 27 Jan. 2017, www.policeone.com/corrections/articles/284084006-5-programs-actively-reducing-recidivism-rates/.