Research needs to get inside the "black box" of what does and does not work in correctional education programs.
Educating and training prisoners helps them better transition into communities upon release. This is one avenue to reducing recidivism and improving employment outcomes post-release.
RAND is at the forefront in conducting seminal research on correctional education and in helping to drive the policy debate in this area.
RAND's work includes research on topics related to education (including adult basic education, GED preparation, and post-secondary education), vocational training, effects on recidivism and post-release employment outcomes, and cost-effectiveness.
Large states cut spending on prison education programs by an average of 10 percent between the 2009 and 2012 fiscal years, while medium-sized states cut spending by 20 percent. While the drop appears to have resulted from budget cuts prompted by the economic downturn, evidence suggests that the curtailment of prison education could increase prison system costs in the longer term.
Inmates who participate in correctional education programs have a 43 percent lower odds of returning to prison than those who do not. Employment after release is 13 percent higher among prisoners who participated in either academic or vocational education programs than those who did not.
A national evaluation of the effectiveness of correctional education methods for incarcerated adults and juveniles. A series of publications will highlight innovative programs and approaches, and will provide guidance on how to develop and administer high-quality education in a correctional setting.
Assesses the effectiveness of correctional education for both incarcerated adults and juveniles, presents the results of a survey of U.S. state correctional education directors, and offers recommendations for improving correctional education.
In this Events @ RAND podcast, our panel of experts discuss the costs and benefits of using education to stop the prison revolving door, and the effectiveness of programs like The Last Mile, which prepares inmates for reentry by providing them with marketable skills.
With renewed attention on reducing mass incarceration in the U.S., and on effective rehabilitation programs, the importance of correctional education has also come into focus. RAND’s objective, high-quality research in this area has had a clear impact on both federal and state policy.
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