This research brief presents the most recent data on the impact of education on crime and crime prevention and examines the debate on providing higher education to inmates.
The report notes that the educational level of offenders is low and that there is a strong link between low levels of education and high rates of criminal activity. It also cites data to show that education lowers recidivism more effectively than currently supported programs. Further, the vast majority of corrections officials believe that educational programs not only benefit inmates, but also the facility's administration and staff; inmate students are better behaved, less likely to engage in violence, and more likely to have a positive effect on the general prison population. The report concludes that the expense of providing higher education to inmates is minimal when considering the impact upon rates of recidivism and the future saving that results from preventing rearrest and re-imprisonment. It advises that the savings of providing correctional higher education are significant and argues that prisoners should receive higher education. Recommendations are to ensure quality education for juveniles involved in the criminal justice system, to garner financial support for correctional education programs from various sources, to implement and fund postrelease supportive services, and to fund the evaluation of educational programs. 49 references
Ctr on Crime, Communities and Culture
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The Center on Crime, Communities and Culture Research Brief Occasional Paper Series No. 2, September 1997.