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Does Providing Inmates With Education Improve Postrelease Outcomes? A Meta-analysis of Correctional Education Programs in the United States, Journal of Experimental Criminology

NCJ Number
Journal of Experimental Criminology Volume: 14 Issue: 3 Dated: 2018 Pages: 389-428
Robert Bozick; Jennifer Steele; Lois Davis; Susan Turner
Date Published
40 pages
This study examined whether providing inmates with education while incarcerated reduced their chances of recidivism and improved their postrelease employment prospects.
The study aggregated 37 years of research (1980-2017) on correctional education and applied meta-analytic techniques. As the basis for the meta-analysis, the researchers identified 57 studies that used recidivism as an outcome and 21 studies that used employment as an outcome. Random-effects regression was then applied across the effect sizes abstracted from each of these studies. When focusing on studies with the highest caliber research designs, the meta-analysis found that inmates who participated in correctional education programs were 28 percent less likely to recidivate than inmates who did not participate in correctional education programs; however, the study found that inmates who received correctional education were as likely to obtain postrelease employment as inmates not receiving correctional education. The meta-analysis demonstrates that providing inmates with educational opportunities while imprisoned can reduce postrelease recidivism. (publisher abstract modified)