WHY DOES IT MATTER?
People always ask, why is it important to educate offenders who didn't care about the victims they have hurt, the communities they impoverished, and the society they endangered? It's important, simply, because they will get out.
Roughly 800,000 prisoners will be released into our streets each year and most of them will offend again and return to prison.
That makes it an issue critical to the economic stability of our country, the safety of our communities, and a higher quality of life for law-abiding citizens.
PRISON EDUCATION IS GOOD FOR PRISONERS
We will be released one day, out on the street again. Will it be a one-way trip? Most of us eventually find ourselves back in – primarily because of unemployment.
On the outside, we need a job to feed ourselves. A place to live. The ability to support our families.
Education is our ticket to a second chance at life, our best hope for never seeing prison walls again. Nothing else has proven to be as effective. And, the higher our level of education, the greater our ability to secure steady employment.
Education is not just acquiring practical knowledge or skills; it's about total transformation, it's about learning to think and express ourselves in a healthy way, acquiring new values, constructing a new life, and – staying out of prison forever.
Prison doesn't have to be a hell hole.
It can be a university, a career training center, or a seminary. It can improve your life now and for years to come. How much time have you wasted because of poor decisions? I say don't waste a minute more! Take the plunge!
To "make it" when released into the world, to survive and thrive out there, there is only one way: education. To find a job that provides satisfaction, as well as a good salary, there is only one way: education. To support your family and serve as a positive role model, there is only one way: education. The best escape from life behind bars is: education.
IS GOOD FOR PRISON AUTHORITIES & ADMINISTRATORS
Educational programs break down racial barriers and help a facility to run more smoothly. Prisoner-students know misbehavior can jeopardize their studies, so they are better behaved, less violent, and more cooperative. They have a positive, stabilizing effect in an otherwise chaotic environment, creating a safer prison culture for all who live and work in the facility.
IS GOOD FOR TAXPAYERS
- If we cut recidivism by only 10%, we'll save more than $62 billion a year, money we now pour down the national drain. (See Education Behind Bars and other studies listed in Resources.)
- Pay taxes to support our national budget.
- Become consumers who bolster the economy.
- Support their families and take them off public welfare.
Ex-felons who are employed:
PRISON EDUCATION IS GOOD FOR AMERICA
- Educated former prisoners obtain good employment and rarely return to crime. Reduced crime means safer communities.
- Transformed ex-convicts become productive citizens.
- Educated ex-felons ensure that their children are also educated, which reduces crime in increasing proportions for each generation to come.
IS IT WORTH IT FOR EDUCATORS?
It's tough teaching behind bars with all the restraints prison security imposes upon educators, the long commuting distances, and the need to develop special courses to accommodate the requirements. Instructors need special training and a lot of dedication to teach in prisons.
Many feel it isn't worth it.
Until ... they see how many prisoners are hungry, starved, for education. Until they understand that they may be the last chance for rehabilitation, and instructors can really turn a life around.
I'm not telling you its going to be easy, I'm telling you it is going to be worth it.