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How Effective Is Correctional Education, and Where Do We Go From Here? The Results of a Comprehensive Evaluation

NCJ Number
Lois M. Davis; Jennifer L. Steele; Robert Bozick; Malcolm V. Williams; Susan Turner; Jeremy N.V. Miles; Jessica Saunders; Paul S. Steinberg
Date Published
February 2014
177 pages
The reported study measured the effectiveness of correctional education for incarcerated adults and juveniles, current and emerging trends in the field, and what can be done to improve it, based on a meta-analysis of relevant research and a survey of States' correctional education directors regarding their concerns and emerging trends.
The meta-analysis of relevant research found that correctional education for incarcerated adults reduced their risk of re-incarceration by 13 percentage points at a savings of 5 dollars on re-incarceration costs for every dollar spent on correctional education. This finding is facilitated by another finding, i.e., that correctional education may increase post-release employment. Because juvenile offenders have a right to a public education, all programs for incarcerated youth include correctional education. Studies of their effectiveness focused on types of interventions, such as corrective reading, computer-assisted instruction, personalized instruction, vocational education, GED completion, and other remedial instruction. Each category included a few studies, and the quality and size of the studies was limited. Two interventions, however showed promise. Reading 180 (for reading improvement) and a personalized and intensive approach for diploma completion and post-release employment used at the Avon Park Youth Academy in Florida. Some key insights from the survey include the recognition that the 2008 recession and its long aftermath have had significant negative effects on correctional education spending, and that there is an increasing emphasis on vocational education programming that will lead to nationally recognized certification in a particular field. Approximately 140 references and appended summary of studies for the juvenile corrections education review and a copy of the survey questionnaire