PRISONEDUCATION.COM: WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE STAND FOR
PrisonEducation.com is the world's source for prison education, inmate education, and correctional education news, information, and research. Our purpose is to advance the position that prison education is fiscally sound, research- and evidence-based, and smart on crime. We present the topic of prison education from both sides of the educational transaction: the incarcerated student and the correctional educator. We believe our approach on the topic of educating America's incarcerated class can be discussed, analyzed, and dissected from all points of view, thus contributing to this important yet overlooked aspect of our criminal justice system and our communities.
This dialogue is currently being held at our Prison Education News page. We look forward to you joining the conversation about prison education there.
WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT EDUCATING PRISONERS?
The reason every citizen should care about prison education is that, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 95 percent of prisoners are one day released from correctional custody. This amounts to around 700,000 prisoners being released onto our streets and into our communities each and every year.
Due to the large numbers, and percentage, of prisoners currently and eventually being released from correctional custody, the enrichment of these persons is a critical issue of national and local importance. The wellbeing of these communities depends greatly upon the reformation of character -- or lack of reformation -- that occurs while the offender is in prison. As such, prison education becomes an issue critical to the economic stability of our country, the safety of our communities, and a higher quality of life for all law-abiding citizens.
Prison education offered in our nation's prisons is beneficial in the following ways:
Good for Prisoners
Prison Education opens prisoners' minds. It imparts new knowledge where the void of traditional education resides. It shows that that through honest, hard work that prisoners can succeed. And upon release, the prison education imparted not only contributes to a new set of skills from which to utilize, but it opens the door to legitimate, sustainable employment, through which former prisoners can support both themselves and their families. Prison education is nothing less than transformation to those who have the opportunity to participate in such programming.
Prison education provides prisoners with:
- Life skills and job skills which enable them to live honest, productive lives after release from custody.
- A belief that through hard work and dedication, they can accomplish anything.
- Tools and credentials required to gain viable, sustainable employment after release from prison.
Good for Authorities & Prison Administrators
Prison education is like a magic pill to prison administrators and law enforcement authorities. When prison education is introduced into the inmate population, violence, racial tensions, misbehavior, and other conflicts are reduced and quelled. And this isn't only for the inmates who are engaging in prison education programs, but also for those who are not, but are in close proximity to those who are. It has a positive, stabilizing effect in an otherwise chaotic environment, creating a safer prison culture for all who live and work within the prison facility.
Prison education offers prison administrators and law enforcement authorities:
- Reductions in violence amongst the confined and supervised populations.
- Significant reductions in recidivism.
- Enhanced relationships with prisoners and other monitored groups.
Good for American Taxpayers
Prison education is the single most cost-effective, proven method of reducing recidivism. It is more cost-effective than longer prison terms. Prison education is more humane than locking offenders in cages, only to be released one day. And by creating employable former prisoners, it greatly contributes to the local, state, and national economies. Through it, no longer must these wrongdoers be locked up in prison on the American people's dime, but they become self-sustaining citizens who contribute to their communities and their country.
Educated ex-prisoners who are employed:
- Pay taxes to support our local, state, and national budgets.
- Become consumers who bolster our economy.
- Support their families and take them off public welfare.
Good for America
Prison education is an economic and social investment in the lives of prisoners, their families, their communities, and America. Through prison education, former prisoners obtain viable, sustainable employment and rarely return to crime. (There is a direct proportional correlation in recidivism reductions as the level of education obtain while in prison increases.) Reduced crime means safer communities. Ex-convicts transformed through prison education become productive, tax paying citizens.
Educated former prisoners produce a ripple effect amongst their families, communities, and America as a whole. These educated ex-convicts more likely ensure that their children are also educated, which reduces crime in increasing proportions for each generation to come. Simply stated, these reformed prisoners go on to become role models for their children, who then change their ways, which then perpetuates the cycle of law abiding behaviors and less reliance on public assistance and the American criminal justice system.
Prison education is beneficial to America by:
- Increasing tax revenues at the national, state, and local levels.
- Reducing crime and its devastating economic and social impact on our nation.
- Improving the quality of life for countless American communities.
Transformative for Educators
A unique group, which engages in the transaction of prison education, is that of educators. Most teachers don't go into the field of correctional education from the start. They happen to be exposed to it in one way or another. At first, most are dubious of the incarcerated students and courses in prison as a whole, but almost categorically these concerns, doubts, and worries are put to rest and exchanged with enthralled support and commitment to the cause of prison education.
Prison education is transformational for educators by:
- Putting doubts aside and replacing them with commitment to educating prisoners.
- Showing educators that prisoners are deserving of education, desire it, and can successfully engage in it.
- Enhancing educators' feeling of making a difference and being another person's final hope at reformation.