• Inmates search for books at a library inside the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary located in the Darrington Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice men's prison in Rosharon, Texas, August 12, 2014


    New Guide to Help Implement College Programs in Prisons

    Jun 29, 2021

    Education services can improve the lives and conditions of people in prison and help them compete for jobs when they are released. A new tool aims to guide corrections officials who are considering whether to start a college program or are looking for information to ensure the success of an existing program.

  • 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 man studying in prison, photo by mediaphotos/Getty Images


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

    May 22, 2019

    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

    Jul 3, 2018

    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.

  • Three male inmates wearing orange prison jumpsuits sit at a table while a woman in a suit speaks.

    Journal Article

    Does Providing Inmates with Education Improve Postrelease Outcomes?

    Jul 3, 2018

    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.

  • A student raises his hand during a class at the California Institution for Men in Chino, California


    The Case for Correctional Education in U.S. Prisons

    Jan 3, 2016

    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 appear to be far more likely to find a job after their release.

  • An adult classroom


    The State of Washington and Its Focus on Rehabilitation

    Sep 16, 2014

    California can learn a great deal from the state of Washington, which has implemented a series of reforms focused on rehabilitation—on diverting offenders to treatment and other options and making serving time in prison the last option.

  • Yes and no boxes on a clipboard


    If You Want Ex-Cons to Be 'Productive Members of Society,' Ban the Box

    Sep 5, 2014

    When an inmate is released, you often hear Americans say that he's “paid his debt” and can now become “a productive member of society.” But the reality is ex-cons pay for their crimes long after sentences end. On the outside, the stigma of incarceration makes it extremely difficult to land a job.

  • a man holding a book on his lap


    Sending Prisoners to College Will Save You Money

    Apr 11, 2014

    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.

  • prisoner graduating holding a diploma


    Prison-Based Education Declined During Economic Downturn

    Feb 18, 2014

    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.

  • Pencil and notebook with crumpled paper

    Research Brief

    How Correctional Education Could Move Forward

    Jan 1, 2014

    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.

  • Serving Time or Wasting Time?


    Are Prisoners Serving Time or Wasting Time?

    Nov 26, 2013

    A comprehensive literature review enabled the examination of the association between correctional education and reductions in recidivism, improvements in employment upon release from prison, and the cost-effectiveness of correctional education.

  • prisoners attending a class


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

    Aug 22, 2013

    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.