• Prisoners gather around a computer following a graduation ceremony from a computer coding program at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California April 20, 2015


    Higher Education Programs in Prison Reduce Recidivism

    Aug 28, 2019

    Evidence shows that correctional education programs are effective—and cost-effective—at improving employment outcomes for participants and at helping to keep them from returning to prison. But given limited budgets, how can the long-term funding of these programs be sustained?

  • A worn-down prison block, photo by Tracy King/Adobe Stock


    Incarceration Rates: A Key Measure of Health in America

    Apr 3, 2020

    There's widespread agreement that incarceration has adverse effects on health and health equity, not just for prisoners but also for families and communities. That's one important reason why incarceration in the United States needs to be reduced.

Explore Incarceration

  • Serving Time or Wasting Time?


    Correctional Education Can Make a Difference

    Inmates who participate in any kind of educational program behind bars are up to 43 percent less likely to reoffend and return to prison. They also are more likely to find a job, and the social stability that comes with it, after their release. Every dollar invested in correctional education saves nearly five in reincarceration costs over three years.

    May 22, 2014

  • Report


    Substance Use Treatment and Reentry (STAR) Program: Final Evaluation Report

    Homeboy Industries, Inc., collaborated with Behavioral Health Services, Inc., and the RAND Corporation to provide recovery services to newly released juvenile offenders in Los Angeles through the Substance Use Treatment and Reentry (STAR) Program.

    Apr 28, 2014

  • a man holding a book on his lap


    Sending Prisoners to College Will Save You Money

    Correctional education works for states because it saves money and shrinks prison populations. It works for prisoners, the public, law enforcement, and the judicial system because educated prisoners are less likely to return to their criminal ways once released.

    Apr 11, 2014

  • prisoner graduating holding a diploma


    Prison-Based Education Declined During Economic Downturn

    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.

    Mar 18, 2014

  • Pencil and notebook with crumpled paper

    Research Brief

    How Correctional Education Could Move Forward

    Correctional education improves the chances that inmates released from prison will not return and may improve their chances of postrelease employment. A survey of U.S. state correctional education directors and a review of programs offers recommendations for improving correctional education.

    Mar 4, 2014

  • Congressional Briefing Podcast


    Correctional Education: How Effective Is It and What Can We Do to Make It Better?

    In this February 2014 Congressional Briefing, Lois M. Davis shares results from a new RAND study on correctional education, conducted for the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice and funded under the Second Chance Act of 2007.

    Feb 18, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Prison-Based Education Declined During Economic Downturn; More Work Is Needed to Better Focus Spending

    State-level spending on prison education programs declined sharply during the economic downturn, with the sharpest drop occurring in states that incarcerate the most prisoners.

    Feb 18, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Effectiveness of Multisystemic Therapy for Minority Youth: Outcomes Over 8 Years in Los Angeles County

    This paper examines juvenile justice outcomes and costs for 757 Multisystemic Therapy (MST) participants and 380 comparison group youth over an 8-year period in Los Angeles County.

    Jan 1, 2014

  • Mexican migrants migrants clamber atop a freight train bound for the U.S.-Mexican border


    RAND Review Examines Immigration, Defense Policies, the ACA, and Correctional Education

    Stories in RAND's flagship journal discuss U.S. and Mexican immigration and labor reforms; British, French, and German defense policies in the face of austerity; seven ramifications of the Affordable Care Act; and the cost-effectiveness of correctional education programs.

    Nov 26, 2013

  • male patient wearing white shirt talking to psychiatrist


    Medicaid Access for the Formerly Incarcerated Under the ACA: Helping the Oft-Forgotten

    America's prison population tends to be sicker than the general population. While Medicaid eligibility under the ACA offers an historic opportunity, enrolling the formerly incarcerated into the health exchanges or Medicaid will be neither simple nor straightforward.

    Oct 3, 2013

  • Inmates sit in a classroom at the Orange County jail


    To Stop Prisons' Revolving Door

    If California wants to reduce its prison population, it needs to address recidivism, and the best way to do this is through education and job training. Cutting education and vocational training may seem like a tempting way to plug short-term budget gaps, but it actually ends up costing the system more over time.

    Sep 16, 2013

  • News Release

    News Release

    Education and Vocational Training in Prisons Reduces Recidivism, Improves Job Outlook

    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.

    Aug 22, 2013

  • prisoners attending a class


    Education and Vocational Training in Prisons Reduces Recidivism, Improves Job Outlook

    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.

    Aug 22, 2013

  • prison

    Research Brief

    How Effective is Correctional Education?

    One strategy to counter recidivism is to provide education to inmates while incarcerated so that they have the knowledge, training, and skills to support a successful return to their communities.

    Aug 22, 2013

  • inmates outside the Orleans Parish Prison


    New Approach to Prison and the War on Drugs

    If you want to reduce cocaine consumption and drug-related crime, you get more bang for the buck if you put money into treatment rather than paying for the increase in incarceration produced by federal mandatory minimum sentences, writes Beau Kilmer.

    Aug 13, 2013

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    Los Angeles County Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act: Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Report

    This annual report for the California Board of State and Community Corrections measures the success of Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act programs and initiatives for six state-mandated outcome measures and county-mandated supplemental measures.

    Aug 12, 2013

  • Teens working together at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument


    Advancing Social Outcomes: Private Investors Could Be Part of the Solution

    Under a Social Impact Bond, private investors — rather than the government — provide up-front funding for programs that tackle such challenges as recidivism or homelessness. If these programs succeed, the government pays some of the savings back to the investors.

    May 14, 2013

  • gavel and anvil

    Journal Article

    Racial Disparities in Criminal Court Referrals to Drug Treatment

    The U.S. prison population grew nearly fivefold between 1980 and 2009, at least partially due to the “War on Drugs.” Racial disparities in criminal justice referrals to drug treatment potentially affect access to treatment for hundreds of thousands of individuals arrested for drug offenses each year.

    May 13, 2013

  • Lois Davis speaking at a RAND Policy Forum on Calfornia's prisoner dilemma on January 24, 2012, with Greg Ridgeway, J. Clark Kelso, and R. Steven Tharratt


    Lois Davis's Prisoner Re-Entry Work Earns Recognition from California Assembly

    RAND congratulates senior policy researcher Lois Davis, whose work on the public health consequences of prisoner re-entry in California earned RAND the 64th Assembly District's AB 109 Re-Entry Award.

    Jan 23, 2013

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    Los Angeles County Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act: Fiscal Year 2010-2011 Report

    The Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act funds programs that curb crime among juvenile probationers and young at-risk offenders. This report summarizes, for fiscal year 2010-2011, state- and county-determined outcome measures from each program.

    Sep 17, 2012