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Large-Scale Multidimensional Test of the Effect of Prison Education Programs on Offenders' Behavior

NCJ Number
Prison Journal Volume: 74 Issue: 4 Dated: special issue (December 1994) Pages: 433-449
K Adams; K J Bennett; T J Flanagan; J W Marquart; S J Cuvelier; E Fritsch; J Gerber; D R Longmire; V S Burton Jr
Date Published
17 pages
This study examined the prison behavior and postrelease recidivism of more than 14,000 inmates released from Texas prisons in 1991 and 1992; comparisons were made between participants and nonparticipants in prison education programs on a variety of behavioral outcomes.
Return to prison was the primary outcome variable for the community follow-up. Because the follow-up information was collected at a fixed point in time (March 1994) and because inmates had different release dates, the length of the follow-up period varied among inmates. The follow-up period for the sample varied from 14 to 36 months. Involvement in prison discipline while incarcerated (both major and minor offenses) was also measured. Two major findings emerged from the study. First, the data show that inmates at the lowest levels of educational achievement benefited most from participation in academic programs, as indicated by their lower recidivism rates. Second, some minimum level of program exposure or involvement is necessary if differences in outcomes are to result. When the aforementioned factors are combined, the data suggest that the recidivism rate can be reduced by approximately one-third. Implications for correctional education policy and correctional programs research are discussed. 6 tables and 9 references