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.
A meta-analysis of 37 years of research on correctional education found that found that inmates who took part in education programs were 28 percent less likely to re-offend as inmates who did not, but had the same chance of obtaining post-release employment.
Because youth typically cannot attend their local schools while incarcerated, correctional facilities must provide alternative education. This meta-analysis aims to help policymakers understand what works in juvenile correctional education.
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.
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.
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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