By Derrick Falkenberg
The value of education for today's prisoner is increasing like never before. With the economic downturn, the uneducated are at a distinct disadvantage and uneducated prisoners are even worse off. As sizeable groups of citizens compete for well-paying positions, the edge goes to those with a greater understanding. These times have shown that a general education is not going to afford a person the same opportunities that a well-educated person will receive. Image courtesy pcntv.com
With so many obstacles facing the incarcerated upon release, education should not be one. While many prisons offer standard education programs, not many offer higher education programs, and the programs that are offered are usually not funded. To top this off, most are not based on the prisoner's projected release date, a flaw which hinders soon-to-be released inmates. These limitations only hinder the advanced learning process. Then, when one considers that many college correspondence courses are now only offered online and at a hefty price, the gravity of the situation becomes apparent.
While some colleges still offer paper-based correspondence courses, many of today's prisoners do not have the ability or finances to obtain the required textbooks unless the cost of such isn't included in the initial fee. To be clear, I'm not necessarily saying that the prisons should pay for inmates to go to college. What I am saying is that prisons do need to take a proactive approach to helping inmates advance their education while they serve their time. If not, the status quo will continue to destroy the very landscape we all are trying to save: Middle America.