Correctional Education

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.

Related research at RAND addresses issues pertaining to at-risk children and youth, including those affected by having an incarcerated parent, and the programs and interventions that can improve their well-being.

The research on this site features work from RAND Social and Economic Well-Being and RAND Education and Labor.

Projects & Publications

  • 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

    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 man studying in prison, photo by mediaphotos/Getty Images


    Lessons from a Prison-Based College Program That Continues After Release

    A prison-based program offered individuals college classes during the final two years of their incarceration and support for another two years after release to help them achieve their degree or certificate goal. How well did the program work?

  • Classroom behind bars

    Journal Article

    Education for Incarcerated Juveniles

    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.

  • shelf of legal books


    National Evaluation of 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.

View all: Projects | Publications


Events @ RAND Audio Podcast
  • Why Prison Education Matters

    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.

Policy Impact

Offenders read books and write papers at a library in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice men's prison in Rosharon, Texas
  • Public Policy Impacts of RAND's Correctional Education Research

    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.

Contact Us

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