Texas State Prison / Windham School District

By Christopher Zoukis

Name: Windham School District

Associated Educational Institution: Itself

Associated Prison: 89 Separate Prisons

Website: http://www.windhamschooldistrict.org/

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 40 804 Bldg. B, FM 2821 West

Huntsville, TX 77320

Phone Number: (936) 291-5300

Fax Number: (936) 291-5300

Email Address: information@wsdtx.org, Contact Forms Available on Website

Point of Contact: Not Publicly Available

Social Media:

  • ·         Facebook: None
  • ·         Twitter: None
  • ·         Google+: None
  • ·         Other: None

Texas Prison School District – A Chance for Change

Texas is not well known for its treatment of the prison population. But the Texas Board of Corrections has developed one of the few school districts that solely serves prison populations. Known as the Windham School District, the Texas institution boasts one of the largest prison education systems in the country.

Most of the classes in the district are dedicated to basic skills, including basic literacy/reading, writing, and English as a Second Language (ESL). The school offers career and technical education programs, including:

  • ·         Automotive
  • ·         Masonry
  • ·         Culinary Arts
  • ·         Electrical Services
  • ·         Plumbing
  • ·         Welding
  • ·         Truck Driving
  • ·         HVAC
  • ·         Hospitality/Tourism

Windham also offers career assistance post-graduation. It has a job board for employers open to hiring released inmates, and resume help for those that need it. For students that are looking for college credit, the school district offers that credit through continuing education courses that are connected to several of the colleges across Texas. Due the size and scope of the Windham system, not every prison offers college courses.

Data on the Windham School District/Texas Prison System

  • ·         502 Associates Degrees Completed by 2010.
  • ·         39 Bachelor’s Degrees Completed by 2010.
  • ·         22 Master’s Degrees Completed by 2010.
  • ·         2,257 released inmates had enrolled in college courses in 2012
  • ·         4,600 inmates attended college courses during that same year.
  • ·         39 inmates in 2013 attended bachelor’s or master’s programs.
  • ·         1,030 received vocational college credit.
  • ·         15.3% recidivism rate among men and women over 35.
  • ·         26% for those under 35.

Notable Classes and Professors

Because of the significant state and educational involvement in the Windham School District and the number of participating colleges, classes and professors vary significantly depending on location. Unfortunately, this does mean that not all prisons have access to college programs, or necessarily the programs that the students would be interested in. Nevertheless, the Windham School District does manage to reach a significant number of inmates for a college education program in the post-Pell Grant world.

Notable Information on the Prison Education Program

The Windham School District studied the recidivism rates of their students to see if the program was achieving its outcomes. The results were intriguing and based largely on the amount of time the student spent studying:

  • ·         Inmates with 325 to 749 hours of program time recidivated 5% less than those with fewer than 325 hours in the program.
  • ·         Inmates with 750 to 1074 hours of program time recidivated 10% less than those with fewer than 325 hours in the program.
  • ·         Inmates with over 1075 academic hours recidivated 15% less than those with fewer than 325 hours in the program.

While it’s not clear whether students with 1 to 324 hours showed any decrease in their recidivism rates (or how they compared to those that never enrolled in the program), the percentage decreases are considered very high for the field, indicating that the Texas Correctional Department’s prison education program appears to be a solid success.

Additional Links:

http://www.windhamschooldistrict.org/images/PDF/annual/WSD%20Annual%20Performance%20Final%20-%20High.pdf

/prison-education-news/2011/11/5/windham-school-district-a-leader-in-correctional-education.html