By Jay Derragon
The majority of people in prison are not hardened criminals; they are good people who have made bad decisions. Yet the current educational system in prisons leave little room for good people to learn how to avoid bad decisions. As W. Edwards Deming said: “A bad system will defeat a good person, every time.”The current system of prison education is not doing enough to empower behavioral change and rehabilitation of minds. The current “system of education” within prisons is antiquated, ineffective, costly and ripe for change. A transformation in methods, means, and thinking is desperately needed.
How Well Is The Current System Working?
Since 1985, the number of people incarcerated has jumped from about 744,000 to over 3.3 million in 2011. That represents an overall increase of more than 400%. While all sectors have grown over that time period, the highest growth was in the federal prison population, which increased by 473%. Increases in the other sectors ranged from 175% in state prisons to 178% in local jails. “The current correctional rehabilitation system is obviously is not working”.
The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) reported in 2011, that nearly 7 in 10 people who are formerly incarcerated will commit a new crime, and half will end up back in prison within three years. Given that about 95 out of every 100 incarcerated people eventually rejoin society, it is crucial that we develop programs and tools to effectively reduce recidivism.