TheUnited States government provides correctional education to inmatesserving different jail terms. Known in other words as prisoneducation, it comprises the academic education and vocationaltraining. The prison education is usually under the management andcontrol of the prisons system. The training is offered throughliteracy classes. These courses offer the prisoner a chance to knowhow to read, write and undertake necessary mathematical calculations.The purpose of this essay will be to evaluate the education offeredin prisons.
Detaineesin the US being among the groups of people who are under educated,these literacy classes acts as a stepping stone or the beginningpoint for many inmates. They provide essential training and educationto prisoners, preparing them to take more complex educationalprograms. Their main aim is to enable prisoners to sit for theGeneral Educational Development (GED) exams. These tests being on thesame level with the high school diploma exams will enable any inmateto further his or her education to higher levels. More so, manyprisons systems have partnered with several colleges and otherinstitutions of higher learning to offer college level programsinside the prisons. Religious educational programs have also beenintroduced to inmates who would be willing to pursue theology andother religious related studies.
Vocationaltraining is much dependent on the prisons system. It means that thelevel of training offered depends much on the size of thecorrectional centre. The bigger the prison regarding the number ofinmates and structures, the greater the number of vocational trainingprograms available(Cuellar & Cheema, 2012).This training equips the prisoner with skills to apply in the outsideworld after his or her release. It entails learning skills such ascarpentry, plumbing, or landscaping. Vocational training is lessexpensive to provide as compared to academic education programs(Meghir,Palme & Schnabel, 2012).
Thereare many benefits attributed to the above educational programs.Personal development is one of the many advantages. To those inmateswho manage to further their education, they usually have a greaterchance of securing a good job, hence evading poverty, crimes, andviolence in the society. Inmate education is also very advantageousas it helps the prisoners to overcome some of the problems they haveundergone through during their period of sentence. Religiouseducation plays a vital role as it helps in awakening senses,unleashing creativity and the sense of belonging. Research also showsthat prison education has positive impacts on the public safety.Those inmates who secured a chance to learn through the prisoneducation program, they usually have an easy time in reuniting backwith the society. They are unlikely to participate in crime andviolence as compared to those who did not undergo the prisoneducation.
Researchhas also proven that the prison education has helped in improving theprison management. The correctional officials have managed to controlthe inmate population with a lot of ease. The reason behind thissuccess is that many prisoners are unlikely to involve themselves inviolent and disruptive behaviours because the majority of them are nolonger idle but actively engaged in the education program. Thisprogram has led to improved safety for correctional staff and otherinmates in general. The improvement in safety has resulted inreduction in security, medical and workers compensation expenses.Also, due to reduced cases of reoffending by the inmates who had gonethrough the education program, it has led to the realisation ofseveral benefits to the central and local governments. These includereduced state courts expenses and also costs incurred in the crimeinvestigation process and prison operations. Other indirect benefitsrealised by the authorities are cut compensation costs to crimevictims and increment in income and tax revenues paid by thoseinmates who fit back into the society after their period of sentence.Also, many researchers and educationists have termed thiscorrectional education as one of the most cost-effective programsinitiated by the US government. They explain out that "for everyone dollar spent on the provision of the correctional education,about five dollars are saved in a three-year reincarceration period."These findings advocates for prison education instead ofre-incarceration (Ryan& Bauman, 2016).
However,this correctional education initiative has suffered criticismsbecause inadequate finances are given out by the government. Findingsprovide that the amount set aside for each inmate has reduced in thelast years. A study conducted by RAND Corporation in the year 2014showed that the amount spent by one prisoner in the exercise of 2009was about 3,480 dollars. In 2012, the amount reduced to 3,365 dollarsper prisoner. It proves that small capital is provided for thisinitiative.
Inthe recommendation, the government should increase the funding withevery increase in the number of inmates every year to avoid the casesof small funds. Nevertheless, the government does not providedetailed information on how the funds are distributed amongst thenumerous correctional centres. There have been cases of somecorrectional centres receiving much more resources compared toothers. in conclusion, the government should provide adequate fundsto all prisons in the most appropriate manner.
Meghir,C., Palme, M., & Schnabel, M. (2012). Theimpact of education policy on crime: an intergenerational perspective(No. w18145). National Bureau of Economic Research.
Cuellar,A. E., & Cheema, J. (2012). As roughly 700,000 prisoners arereleased annually, about half will gain health coverage and careunder federal laws. HealthAffairs,31(5),931-938.
Ryan,C. L., & Bauman, K. (2016). Educational attainment in the UnitedStates: 2015. CurrentPopulation Reports,20.