Report on Correctional Education for a Satellite Based Corrections Training Network

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General Literacy Research

Adult Literacy and Technology Conference Proceedings
Avis L. Meenann (Comp.); Patricia E. Burns (Comp)
University Park, Pennsylvania
1987, 73 pages (ED 286 066)

Contains the summaries of 60 presentations. Among those included are:

    • Technology for Teachers
    • A Group Instruction Communication Network (Brown)
    • Application of Interactive Video (Gacka et al.)
    • Methods of incorporating Technology into an Adult Resource Learning Center (Gold, Chetelat)
    • Using Databases for Developing Thinking Skills in Adult Literacy (Budin)

National Clearinghouse on Literacy Education
The Center for Applied Linguistics - CAL
202-429-9292 202-429-9292
1118 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

Adjunct clearing house for ERIC house.

Directory of Literacy Programs - 250 pages $15.00

Local literacy providers listed by state, including contact information, types of programs offered, learner populations, and native languages of learners.

State literacy contacts - adult education directors, adult ESL directors, governors' aides for education, correctional, JTPA, and library literacy program administrators.

State level organizations that offer service in the literacy field

National and regional literacy resources.

Ohio State University
National Center for Research in Vocational Education
Columbus OH

Oversight Hearing on Illiteracy

Joint hearing before the Subcommittee on Elementary, Secondary, and Vocational Education of the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives, and the Subcommittee on Education, Arts and Humanities of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, United States Senate, Ninety-Ninth Congress, Second Session (Washington, DC. June 12, 1986) 67 pp. Serial No. 99-140 (ED 279 855)

Contains transcripts of testimony and written materials presented by four persons at a Congressional hearing on illiteracy. Testimony by Gerald L. Baliles, Governor of Virginia, describes how his state has begun a correctional education program of "no read, no release" to teach prisoners to read before they are sent back into society.

University Microfilms
Depository of dissertations and theses
300 North Zeeb Road
Ann Arbor MI 48106


Research Related to Curriculum

California Prison Literacy Statistics

    • Inmate Pop. 95,000 to 100,000
    • 41,000 read at HS level
    • 1990 1,463 earned GED
    • 14,000 in prison educational track
    • 3,254 college courses are completed each year.
    • 10,400 offenders return to state prison each year.
    • 62% are paid (.25-$4 hr) 10-13,000 waiting for paid positions.
    • No waiting on academic classes.
    • Each of state's 20 prisons have GED and ESL programs

State Prison Systems
BCEL Newsletter 1986

Governance patterns vary. In most cases the department of correction has charge of education, sometimes contracting with ABE, community colleges, vocational-technical schools, voluntary programs, and community-based organizations to deliver services. In other cases, the department of education is in charge. In 10 states, school districts have been established solely to serve correctional institutions, thereby assuring that they do not have to compete with other education programs for funding. Elsewhere, especially where juveniles are involved, joint responsibility may be shared by various departments including mental health and social services. The heart of the matter is that local philosophy shapes the program. "Is it intended as a means of maintaining order and control, an antidote to debasing idleness, a way to help reduce recidivism rates, or of seeing to some human needs a civilized society considers basic? What it comes down to is that in a few state prisons education programs are highly developed, in most they are meager at best, and others range in between. In many instances, what is reported as "a program" may be no more than a workbook handed to a prisoner to use in his or her cell and an occasional meeting with an instructor. "Correctional education, as one observer puts it, "is often tolerated by the custodial staff, ignored by the treatment staff, apologized for by the education department, and underfunded by management."

State Prison Systems
BCEL Newsletter 1986

Policies Regarding Activities: School, Work or Idleness

While academic and vocational programs exist in most state prisons, they have been unable to address more than a fraction of the need. As of 1983, the last year for which reliable figure could be found, fewer than 12 percent of the total prison population had access to basic and vocational education. On the average, less than a third of inmates were in educational programs of any kind In general, the states were spending five percent of their total correctional budget on all inmate education - leaving a huge gap between the needs of inmates and the availability of programs. Of the five percent typically spent by a state, about 1.5 percent comes directly from the state; the remainder comes from various federal agencies.

In the absence of any federal policy-setting requirements, each state operates on its own. There is no coherency in overall philosophy, standards, nor procedures. Some states require all inmates to work. Others offer a choice of work or school. Still others provide flexible schedules so that inmates can participate in both. Some states require neither work nor school attendance, with large numbers of inmates spending their time in idleness, a frequently-cited cause of riots and disturbances. The result is tremendous variation from state to state, and even among institutions within a state, in the level of service provided, degree of participation in work and school activities, and provision of incentives and compensation.

Correctional Education Association
BCEL Newsletter
October 1986, page 5

Steve Steurer, executive director of the Correctional Education Association. "there is no central agency responsible for gathering information about corrections education, so that it is extremely difficult to get a handle on the whole picture . We've got to take a look at the programs that work and see how and what's being taught. What gains are being made beyond the simple achievement measures? What about the effect on self-worth? Does the development of literacy provide something meaningful for the inmate when he returns to society or is it a major building block on which other educational efforts need to be founded? An how does literacy fit into the continuum of education for the job and social skills needed to survive on the outside?" It's not enough for decisions about the correctional and rehabilitative process to be made by security and other treatment staff - which is often the case. Correctional educators need to be much more closely involved in the decision making."

Black Issues in Higher Education
Ed Wiley, III

"Prison Education Programs Attempt to Pick Up Where Society Failed"
v6 n 13 (1989) p 1, 89-, 11-12.
(EJ 399 859) (UMI)

Describes the lack of education of Black prison inmates. Discusses relative benefits and costs of educational programs in correctional institutions to both inmates and citizens. Provides seven examples of successful state-run programs and comments on the future possibilities for laws requiring educational programs for all inmates.


Robert Presley Institute of Correctional Research &Training
Shannon Reffett, Executive Director

Drafted correctional educational bills for Senator Presley. Is working on funding for two endowed chairs in CSU, San Bernardino, School of Education, Correctional Education and Counseling degree programs.

Federal Prison System
BCEL Newsletter 1990.

In the federal prison system, it is a requirement. Every inmates who reads below an 8th grade level (recently raised from 6th grade) must have instruction in basic skills for at least 90 days. Other goals in federal education and training are that very inmate capable of doing so earn a high school diploma or its equivalent by the time of release, and that everyone without a work skill be given training to qualify for post-release work in a career-oriented occupation. Less than 10 percent of the total national inmate population is confined in federal prisons.

"Illiteracy and the Offender"
Carol Dalglish
Adult Education (London); v56 n1 (1983) p 23-26. (EJ 283-488) (UMI)

Discusses the relevance of providing literacy education for offenders, and the problems involved in getting them to take advantage of available programs.

Journal of Correctional Education
Howard S. Davidson
"Meaningful Literacy Education in Prison? Problems and Possibilities
v 39 n 2 (1988) p 76-81. (EJ 272 976 (UMI)

Encourages the development of interdisciplinary approaches to literacy education that provide students with an opportunity to improve a broad range of literacy skills while studying substantive and interesting content.

Journal of Correctional Education
June 1985 issue

Devoted entirely to prison adult basic education programs that work.

Copies are available for $10 from Correctional Education Association, 8025 Laurel Lakes Court, Laurel, MD 20707

Lehigh University
Raymond Bell
Study for the National Institute of Justice

Study of more than 1000 male and female prison inmates in three states, found that 42 percent had some kind of learning deficiency, defined as functioning academically below the level of fifth grade. Using the Public Law 94-142 definition tests to screen for intelligence, education level, disabilities, and adaptive behavior, Bell found that the majority (82 percent) of the 42 percent with learning deficiencies had specific learning disabilities. But the portion of inmates in his study with learning disabilities, concludes Bell is "a gross underestimation because of informed consent and the conditions of prisons" To be in the study, inmates had to give up recreation or paid employment time, factors which he says discouraged some from participating. Only those inmates who tested below the 5th grade level were screened for learning disabilities. Also, inmates who knew they had learning disabilities probably did not choose to participate in the study because it would have forced them to acknowledge a 'weakness,' which in a tough environment could make life difficult, he says.

Literacy South
BCEL Newsletter July 1989

Center helps develop programs in work place, family literacy, and community settings, working with literacy providers and companies to analyze their basic skills needs, teach methods and develop curriculum. The Center is closely affiliated with two model literacy programs - Motherread (an intergenerational program for parents in prisons, child care staff in day-care centers, and families in the community).

Literacy Training in Penal Institutions
Patricia Cohen Gold
1983 36 pp (ED 240 292)

Explains how existing literacy training programs for inmates in America's prisons are inadequate. Key components of existing exemplary programs include the following: development of a coordinated structure; provision of staff training in literacy; utilization of competency-based, integrated curricula; offering of incentives for inmates; coordination between correctional and community education programs; and increased use of technology. Program developers and implementers must also contend with a number of problems that interfere with their operation.

Pittsburgh Literacy Initiative
Judith Aaronson
Health & Welfare Planning Association
BCEL Newsletter 1990

The Criminal Justice System Task Force on Literacy, created by the Pittsburgh Literacy Initiative, the Allegheny Bar Association, and several local correctional agencies, has for the past year operated two literacy projects for inmates in the county jail. In one project, women students at the University of Pittsburgh and women lawyers and para-legals from the Women's Division of the Bar Association have been tutoring female inmates. In a second project funded by JTPA, the Pittsburgh Literacy Initiative provides 10 weeks of job-preparation help and basic skills instruction to male inmates. Despite cramped facilities and scheduling conflicts, the programs have so far succeeded in improving learners' literacy skills and placing them in jobs. Key to the program's success has been careful negotiations with all levels of jail staff to ensure their support for the program. Correctional programs also need comfortable class facilities,curricula relevant to inmates' experience and aspirations, and ongoing counseling, education, and employment services to assure effective transition to the outside world. She suggests that judges consider alternative sentencing arrangements that would motivate convicts to participate in educational programs in exchange for reduced sentences.

National Institute of Corrections
BCEL Newsletter 1986
Report by National Institute of Corrections

The best programs have teachers/tutors thoroughly trained in reading, with special programs targeted to inmates reading at the 0-3rd-4th grade level. Most programs have some kind of ABE offering that focuses on literacy although not always with specific programs for the poorest readers. A little over a tenth of the institutions...have no educational opportunities or only part-time tutoring for those inmates at the lowest literacy levels. About two-thirds of the programs have integrated their basic skills programs with vocational and/or life skills training, have an explicit and coherent philosophy, and report some kind of cooperative working relationship with prison administration and security staff. Almost all do some kind of assessment. Lack of a focus on transition to release and little or no link with outside businesses or the community occur in about 40 percent of the programs.

Finally, there is indication of a need for staff development, especially in literacy training. At least 40 percent of the institutions did not report any kind of staff development program.

National Captioning Institute, Inc.
Don Thieme, Executive Director of Public Affairs and Development
BCEL Newsletter J
July 1989

300 hours of close-captioning television are available on the networks, PBS, and cable stations. Schools are apparently making heavy and very effective use of the service for elementary and high school students. According to the studies cited by NCI, close captioning could also be a valuable tool for adult literacy and ESL programs. They say that seeing the printed word in this way reinforces vocabulary, spelling, and grammar, as well as reading comprehension.

Reading Research and Instruction
R. M. Bean and R. M. Wilson 1989, 28(4) p 27-37
(ERIC Journal No. EJ 394 997)

Use of closed-captioned television to teach reading to adults.

Louisiana - Lafayette Parish Correctional Facility
R. G. Dugas.

"Education Program that Lowers Recidivism"
American Jails
V4, N2 (July/Aug/ 1990), P 64-65, 67-68, 70, 72.

Of the inmates who have received their GED diplomas while incarcerated (557), less than 4 percent have returned to the jail compared to a national recidivism rate of 64 percent. Lafayette Parish Correctional Facility uses inmate tutors in a program that enables inmates to receive their high school equivalency diploma. Recognized as one of the best Laubach literacy programs in the nation. A local literacy organization, Volunteer Instructors Teaching Adults, trains inmates how to teach. To date, more than 200 inmates in the 700-capacity jail have tutored, allowing instruction to be available 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. Program provides GED, ABE, life-coping skills. Hispanic detainees are taught English, and Sheriff's deputies are taught Spanish. Called a national model by Gary Patureau (Louisiana Governor's office)

Five phases:

    • Awareness - dissemination of information about the program to inmates.
    • Training which involves tutor selection and tutor training
    • Recruitment which consists of the screening of inmates for entrance into the program
    • Application which involves tutor-inmate matching and instruction
    • Evaluation which consists of documentation of student achievements and the measurement of recidivism among students.

Maryland Correctional Institution Jessup,
Correctional Training Center - Hagerstown

The same peer tutoring program exists at both facilities

Peer Tutoring Reading Academy: A formal training program in which inmates tutor their pees functioning below the third-grade level in reading. The program is based on the Johns Hopkins University Reading Academy Program, designed to develop basic skills and self-esteem by using "real-life" materials for training purposes. The program includes sight-word instruction based on the Fernald method, a directed listening-language experience approach, the neurological impress method, word attack and comprehension skills, and sustained silent reading. Under the supervision of a certified reading teacher, the inmate tutor and learner diagnose learning needs and then formulate a program that includes reading, writing, and (often) math. Experienced tutors assist other inmates learning to be tutors; applicants are carefully screened by the reading instructor. Tutors meet daily to discuss problems and formulate solutions. The experience boosts tutor confidence and self-esteem, confers a sense of ownership of the education program, and enhances tutor relationship skills and status with other inmates.


ABE: Mandatory for 90 days for incoming inmates who score below the sixth-grade level on reading, but voluntary for inmates with higher achievement test performance. The program's expansion has led to the addition of a night school, which focuses on instruction in basic and intermediate level functional skills.

New York Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility Research Inmate Tutors Volunteer Tutor Program: Directed by a teacher/coordinator and two inmate office interns, works to advance inmates' literacy skills to the fifth-grade reading level and to develop inmates' attitudes and competencies to a level necessary for success in the formal education program. Most of the volunteer tutors are inmates, although there are a few volunteers from the community. All volunteers are formally trained in the LVA method. The program's success is due to two factors: inmates' willingness to accept help from other inmates, and the gains in self-esteem among inmate tutors.

Prison Literacy Project

"Inside Out: Writings from the Prison Literacy Project, (9/91) for incarcerated new readers, poems, stories, essays

Program is featured on ALSS teleconference.

Fifty volunteers to prisons Graterford Prison Involvement, Volunteer literacy tutors,inmate tutors, inmate managers. adopt/own/run. committed to see through. In-mate written beginning reader, ready September. Laubach method, in-mates work with in-mates.Six month contract with inmate and volunteers.

30-minute, broadcast-quality video documentary. Emmy nominated. "The Prison Literacy Project" video is used for fundraising, educational, and recruitment tool for community groups, prisons, literacy organizations, and other interested parties.

First segment illuminates the invisibility and implications of illiteracy, as the camera moves from the streets and courtrooms of Philadelphia to Graterford prison. Second half attempts to break down stereotypes, to humanize the prison and its inmates, and to depict the realities of prison life and illiteracy. Interviews with PLP managers, tutors, and students document the impact of the project. Third phase completes the journey from prison back to the community . It creates an awareness of the PLP vision that individuals inside and outside prison are members of the same community. Problem: Simple functions such as reading a street sign, a job application, a menu or shopping list, a child's story are not within the grasp of an illiterate person. Consequently many illiterates resort to frustrating life of crime. At two PA prisons, student-tutor pairs work on a one-to-one basis in learning to read and write. Prison residents and volunteers are trained to tutor; students are interviewed, tested, and matched with tutors. Management of the project is carried out jointly by a team of prison residents in partnership with a team of outside community volunteers. Co-management - internal and external.


Incoming inmates who test below the sixth-grade reading level are compelled by state law to attend school and literacy services for 90 days. LCI relies primarily on the TABE for educational assessment.

Pennsylvania State University
Peter S. Cookson
Director, Prison Literacy Project. Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy, College of Education

Starting and Building A Community-based Literacy Program in Prison:
A Final Report to the National Institute of Corrections.

BCEL Newsletter 1986

Virginia Governor Gerald Baliles announced a "no reading, no release" parole policy for all Virginia inmates.

West Virginia Correctional Institutions
J. L. Mace,
Doctoral dissertation (1978)

Available from University Microfilms 281 pages.

Four year follow-up of 320 adult male felons discharged from West Virginia Correctional Institutions - strong negative relationship between recidivism and participation in one of the system's education programs (as participation went up - recidivism went down). Findings showed that 10 of the GED participants were recidivists and 47 were not. Not statistically significant, but lower than expected. Seven of those completing the GED recidivated. Four of the college-level participants recidivated. 83.33 percent of this group was successful over a four- year period. Educational programs had four phases

    • taught basic reading and writing
    • grades 1-8
    • preparation for the GED
    • college courses for credit

New York Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility

Substance Abuse Program: focuses on enhancing life management skills and self-esteem, is directed by the senior counselor and managed by inmates, prison staff, and community resource people. The rehabilitation program - full time and live-in - is mandatory for 90 days after that, participation is voluntary. Treatment formats include information seminars, counseling, and discussion sessions on topics including the pharmacology of addiction, family relations, and religion. Classroom teachers integrate substance abuse treatment issues into classroom instruction as appropriate. Has strong linkages with half-way houses across the state to support inmate re-entry into the community.

Research Related to Obstacles Implementation

State Prison Systems
BCEL Newsletter 1986.

Major obstacles as reported to a Senate Committee y John Nuttall, assistant director of education in New York State's Department of Correctional Services.

1. Money - spending on prison education is not popular or a priority. Lack of sufficient resources makes a full-fledged attack very difficult and perhaps impossible.

2. Inmate Movement and Turnover. Overcrowding probably has the greatest impact on attempts to provide consistent rational programming. There is constant movement of inmates from facility ( rural, high-security) to facility (lower security, nearer homes in urban areas as they progress through terms). In New York, the average stay in any one place is 4-5 months. Most maximum-security facilities turn over their entire inmate population 2-3 times a year.

3. Lack of Motivation. Lacking faith in the education system, it is difficult to recruit and retain inmates in literacy programs. In New York State, prisoners in education programs are paid, but at a lower rate than if they worked in a skilled maintenance or or a prison industry. Can earn .95-$1.05 a day. In an industry job - up to $3.90 for a 6-hour day.

4. Recruitment and Incentives. Enrollment is related to effort to recruit them. Incentives attract and retain students. Best when education achievement is linked to higher-level and better-paying jobs in prison industries, eligibility for vocational training and special privileges such as time off for good behavior, small monetary awards for achieving third-grade reading level ($10-$15), and graduation ceremonies, sometimes in cap and gown, with diplomas awarded.

Research Related to Recidivism


Vocational Education Journal 63, no. 1 (Jan-Feb 1988) L. W. Hassell . "Keeping Them from Coming Back to Prison in Arkansas" pp 28-29, 77" ERIC No. EJ 364 481

Only 7.5 percent of those who receive vocational training return to an Arkansas prison after release compared to 30.8 percent overall.

John Dawkins
Federal Minister for Employment, Education and Training
Dawkins, 1989, Fight against illiteracy means a battle against inequity
Media release, Canberra; DEET, Australia

Inferred that there is some causal relationship between illiteracy and crime, just as there is assumed to be a causal relationship between illiteracy and unemployment: directly associated with lack of employment, low incomes and poor self esteem. We know that illiteracy rates are above average amongst prisoners and those on unemployment benefits.

Stephen Black, Rosemary Rouse, Rosie Wickert

"Illiteracy Myth (the)"

Study: to determine if inmates literacy abilities compares with that of the general population.

T. H. Bell, Former Secretary of Education
BCEL Newsletter 1984 statement

It is estimated that of the 150 inmates who will be released this year, between 30-70 percent will be recommited within a year. Lack of basic education and marketable skills aggravate a released offender's difficulties in securing employment, thus influencing the return to crime.

BCEL Newsletter 1986 statement

We cannot afford to incarcerate the same people again and again without giving them the skills to function outside prison, Bell said in 1983 as he committed his department to the goals of correctional education.

Chief Justice Warren Burger
BCEL Newsletter 1984 statement

There is a rising awareness of the link between illiteracy and incarceration. Chief Justice Warren Burger argues that no prisoner should be released without being able to read, write, and perform basic math.

BCEL Newsletter 1990 statement
A leading spokesman for the concern about the costs and benefits of warehousing prisoners, has repeatedly recommended that "every inmate who cannot read, write and do simple arithmetic be given that training, not as an option but as a mandatory requirement."

Evaluation and Training Institute
California Postsecondary Education Commission

1979 study. Ex-offender programs were identified in nine state universities and nine community colleges. Showed that male inmates who participated to the greatest extent in the college program were least likely to recidivate and recidivated considerably less than the average for all males released.

ERIC Alert Vocational Education in Corrections

Ninety percent of corrections institutions offer educational programs. Only about five percent of inmates are enrolled in some type of vocational education program despite the fact that as many as 50 percent could probably benefit from them. Vocational education is considered by many to have great potential for producing positive results.

Problems associated with providing vocational education include lack of funding and difficult access to funding, inadequate number of programs and program slots, inadequate and outmoded equipment and materials, and inadequate space. Because a number of problems impeded the validity and reliability of voc-ed research in the prison environment, it has been difficult to demonstrate that participation in voc-ed reduces recidivism rates. However, there have been studies that have documented positive relationships between inmates' participation in voc-ed and subsequent employment upon release. According to Halaz (1988) it seems appropriate to continue to study the relationship among education, employment, and recidivism based on the assumption that education leads to employment and employment can lead to successful reintegration into society. (p. 71)"


Formation professionnelle en mileu carceral et devenir judiciaire des jeunes sortant de prison

1981 French study concluded that vocational training is not a significant deterrent to recidivism Prisoners received apprenticeship instruction in some skilled occupation. of the total 429, 251 (58.5 percent) has recidivated; 67 of those had participated in the vocational training. "


University of Hawaii at Manoa Center for Youth Research
2500 Campus Road, Honolulu HI 96822
1984 Study, A. K. Ignacio, E. Metz-Serrao, E. Wolcott-Yuen.

Probationers with poor educational and employment backgrounds were also significantly more likely to recidivate.

Iowa Department of Corrections
J. Boudouris
Recidivism and Rehabilitation Study

In general, recidivism rates were lowest for inmates involved in vocational, educational, prison industry, and farm programs.

Journal of Offender Counseling, Services & Rehabilitation
K. Enockson
V5, N1 Fall 1980

The focus on educational and vocational training programs..appears to be a practical approach to the Average offender's problems in the world of work. Because offenders are undereducated and unskilled, higher education and improved skills should result in increased employability. Because work is of such prime importance in adult life, the failure to achieve more vocational success may be a primary factor in repeated crime. The completion of an educational or vocational training program may contribute to a sense of self-worth and accomplishment and thus increase motivation to also succeed in the outside world. The short-term effects on participation in prison programs when measured against recidivism are perhaps negative, but the long-term effects are likely to contribute to the increased possibility for legitimate self-support and a socially accepted lifestyle.

Jonathan Kozol
Illiterate America,
New York Anchor/Doubleday 1985

p 101. Violence is not initiated by the victims of an unjust order. They are responding almost always to a prior violence. p 14 Swollen court costs, law-enforcement budgets in those urban areas in which two fifths of all adults are unemployable for lack of literacy skills, not even to speak of the high cost of crime to those who are its victims, cannot be guessed but must be many times the price of prison maintenance.

p 17. If the high rate of convictions for illiterate defendants had not been so solidly established, none of this might represent a prejudicial aspect of the jury system."

p 13 $6.6 billion yearly (estimate of 1983) is the minimal cost of prison maintenance for an estimated 260,000 inmates - out of a total state and federal prison population of about 440,000 - whose imprisonment has been directly linked to functional illiteracy. The prison population represents the single highest concentration of adult illiterates. While criminal conviction of illiterate men and women cannot be identified exclusively with inability to read and write, the fact that 60 percent of prison inmates cannot read above the grade school level surely provides some indication of one major reason for their criminal activity.

p 100 Those who, in the present context, have no other recourse but to violence (those for example in the prison population, those who are not yet in prison but who have no other means of feeding their own children, or of finding even the most futile forms of vindication, than the violence of street-crime and the dark pathology of drugs and prostitution) would at last discover an effective instrument of self-assertion in the lever of political organization and the power of a shrewd, informed and well-time impact on the outcome of elections.

Jonathan Kozol
Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools
Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, 1991

p 118. According to the New York City Department of Corrections, 90 percent of the male inmates of the city's prisons are the former dropouts of the city's pubic schools. Incarceration of each inmate, the department notes, costs the city nearly $60,000 every year. "

Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services
Implementation of System to Measure Recidivism and Statistical Information on Recidivism (1989)
Division of Correction
Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Division of Correction

Participants in high school equivalency and vocational education programs had higher recidivism rates than those in college programs, according to a pilot study that gathered data manually and did not include a control group"

National Institute of Corrections
BCEL Newsletter 1986

No one would argue that there is a direct causal relationship between illiteracy and crime, but a look at the broader picture points to a hot connection. A NIC study reports that as many as 50 percent of adults in federal and state prisons cannot read or write at all. Nearly two-thirds have not completed high school. About one-fourth have not even completed elementary school.

New Jersey
C. C. Shuman, Dissertation 1976
"Effects of Vocational Education on Recidivism of Formerly Incarcerated Individuals"
Rutgers, State University of New Jersey

Available from University Microfilms
300 North Zeeb Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48106.

Ten variables: the significant predictors were previous number of sentences, months prior to release when the training was completed, and age. Previous number of sentences accounted for more than 86 percent of the weighted predictability. The rate of recidivism for inmates having received vocational training during incarceration was significantly lower than that of inmate controls. The mean length of time from release to return for recidivist inmates having received vocational training was significantly longer than those of control inmates. Recidivism was significantly higher for those who received vocational training within 1.5 years prior to release than for those who received vocational training more than 1.5 years prior to release. Concluded that if educational funds are limited, those available should be used to train the offender with less than 3 previous sentences. Educational opportunities should be made available to inmates at least three years prior to release. A work-release program to capstone formal instruction would ease the transition from incarceration to freedom.

New York
William Philliber Ph.D.

Runs the only full time graduate program in a correction facility in the US. The recidivism rate is 0. Maximum security.

New York Bronx County
Office of the District Attorney
BCEL Newsletter 1986

Of the 40,000 arrests made in New York City's Bronx County, most individuals will return to jail after they are released because their basic underlying problems have not been addressed. Recognizing that there is often a direct link between an individual's lack of education and criminal behavior, Bronx D.A. Mario Merola believes that the prosecutor's office should take a new approach to addressing crime and he is establishing a program to offer defendants a whole range of services including educational testing; tutoring in reading, writing, and mat; vocational assistance; and psychological counseling.

BCEL Newsletter 1990

The program operates as an alternative to incarceration for defendants charged with less serious crimes whose cases are pending before the court. It marks the first time that a district attorney's office has taken an aggressive educational role.

E. M. Dollar
"Keeping Them Coming Back to Prison in Oklahoma "
Vocational Education Journal
63, no. 1 (January-February 1988) pp 29-30 ERIC No. EJ 364 482

A program at the Lexington Training Center in Oklahoma has a 16 percent recidivism rate compared to 55 percent overall is described."

Personnel Journal
Sherman Swenson
Chairman of Board. Dalton Booksellers

America is spending $225 billion annually because of adult illiteracy. based on $300 million on year on remedial three R's training for employees, costs of welfare programs, crime and related social ills.

Oregon State Penitentiary and Oregon Corrections Institute
M. A. Evan, R. Mason, A. Seidler
"1977 Outcomes of Prison Vocational Training and Education Programs on Recidivism and Employment Success"

Available from National Institute of Justice
National Criminal Justice Reference Service Microfiche Program
Box 6000, Department F, Rockville, MD 20850
12 pages

Identified variables of respondent's age, attainment of GED, and release on parole were all associated with post-release employment. Age in combination with vocational training (an interaction effect) was associated with staying out of prison. Attainment of a GED and age were associated positively with higher monthly pay. The GED certificate was the only factor associated with number of months employed. Interviews: ex-offenders did not find the prison's vocational education programs to be relevant to the types of employment available upon release. Concluded that vocational ed should be more employment oriented. The GED significantly improves an offender's chances of employment. "

SUNY Press
David P. Farrington and Roger Tarling, Editors
Chapter in Prediction in Criminology
NCJ-99006 DO (document)"
State University Plaza, Albany, NY 12246

1985 Study Predicting recidivism based on institutional variables usually based on parole prognosis (staff predictions of re-offending), institutional misconduct, personality measures, participation in work or education programs, frequency of family contact. Predicts about 15 percent of the variation in recidivism. Institutional misconduct appears to be the most reliable institutional predictor variable. The utility of program participation and family contact is less clear.

West Germany
Rueckfaelligheit entlassener Strafgefangener - Zusammenhaenge zwischen
Rueckfall und Bildungsmassnahmen im Vollzug

1982 West German study. The recidivism rate of adult prisoners participating in training courses did not differ from that of adult non participants, but with successful participants of training courses, the recidivism rate was only 62 percent and appreciably lower than that of nonparticipants (72 percent). Still, no variables have been found that would enable the individual prediction of successful participation in training courses.

West Virginia Correctional Institutions
J. L. Mace,
Doctoral dissertation (1978)
Available from University Microfilms
281 pages.

Four year follow-up of 320 adult male felons discharged from West Virginia Correctional Institutions - strong negative relationship between recidivism and participation in one of the system's education programs (as participation went up - recidivism went down).

Findings showed that 10 of the GED participants were recidivists and 47 were not. Not statistically significant, but lower than expected. Seven of those completing the GED recidivated. Four of the college-level participants recidivated. 83.33 percent of this group was successful over a four- year period.

Research Dealing with the Use of Television and Other Technologies

ALBSU - Adult Literacy & Basic Skills Unit
Alan Wells, Director
BCEL Newsletter 1989

U.K.'s national adult literacy center. Formed in the mid 70s to support the BBC's television-based national adult literacy campaign - largely as the conduit for disbursing government funds to local education authorities (LEAs). Has since evolved into the central organization for coordinating and nurturing adult literacy activities of every kind throughout England and Wales.

Televised literacy programs via national system. You need to a have a long lead-in time, that people need a lot of advance warning to get the situation set up. They need to be consulted and to feel it's not being imposed on them by somebody else. They need advice on the kinds of responses they may make, and on such things as running Saturday workshops or spelling programs for businesses. They need copies of everything that people are going to receive. They need to feel they've got some ownership, and they need the opportunity to evaluate it afterwards, to give some feedback. They also need the ability to video the programs so they can re-used them at their own places and schedules. And they need advice on how to use the programs in their teaching.

ALBUSU is supporting the BBC program in which television will be used for heavy direct instruction of a range of basic skills. It'll be built around the national certificate program. Advantage in that U.K. has only four channels. The vast majority of people watch only two of them, the BBC and ITV. The new BBC programs will be available to every home, and will et big audiences.

Jonathan Anderson and others.
"The Use of Technology in Adult Literacy Programs"
1990 189 pages (ED 319 930)

Describes the use of educational technology including audio, television, computers, telephones, satellites, and optical laser discs in adult literacy programs in Australia.

BCEL Newsletter
October 1986, page 5

Since 1984, $4 million has been obligated through NIC for technical assistance and grants to state prisons. Looking to the benefits of technology, a considerable portion of these funds has been granted to study the state of computer assisted instruction in prison setting, and to help educators acquire the know-how and means to establish or improve CAI programs.


California's Workforce for the Year 2000
Report of the California Workforce Literacy Task Force
November 1990. Senate Publication Number 570-S
Senate Publications, 1100 J. Street, B-10, Sacramento, CA 95814. $7

Recent publications have called attention to the potential contribution of technology to teaching and learning. The computer, telecommunications media, laserdiscs, computer compact disk, and various combinations of these and other technologies offer unprecedented opportunities for enhanced learning. The new technologies can alleviate barriers of distance disability, language, age and economic condition.

ERIC Document
Editor T. A. Ryan NCJ-74750
"Correctional Education" p 5-22, 1977.

ERIC Document Reproduction Service
PO Box 190
Arlington, VA 22210
DO Document, MF Microfiche.

History reviewed. by 1977 correctional education was making good use of educational technology through the use of computerized instruction, closed-circuit television, the teaching machine, and other methods of increasing the speed and effectiveness of learning. Continued success depends on

    • planning the goals to be reached and the means for achieving them,
    • planning implementation activities, and
    • planning the evaluation. Planning must look toward a radical decrease in the institutionalization of offenders by the end of the century, as public and private community agencies assume more and more of the responsibility for rehabilitating and controlling offenders.

Georgia Tech Literacy Project
Barbara Christopher, Project Monitor
Center for Rehabilitation Technology (CRT), Georgia Institute of Technology

Uses KU Band satellite to 63 state sites (75 classes) , trained site teacher, Interactive/Live - sites call it. two lab teachers. Georgia Tech Uplink. Partnership of Georgia Tech's Center for Rehabilitation Technology (CRT), responsible for program administration and monitoring; CRT, Inc., responsible for program administration and fund raising; Literacy Action, Inc. responsible for curriculum and instruction; and the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education and the Georgia Board of Regents responsible for establishing and monitoring receiving sites.

Sites include a pool hall, library. 2-4 grade level, 2 evenings a week 6 quarters (10 weeks each) 2 cycles running - M/W. TU/TH. Two hour class with one hour live broadcast. Language experience curriculum - read and write, and teach student how to learn. After 1.5 years of instruction, they expect students will have progressed two to four grade levels. Dropout rate has been comparatively low and overall student attendance rates have been high. Evaluations indicate that student progress has been better in the satellite program than in comparable classes with live instruction, even though the materials and procedures were the same.

Georgia funding, in kind donation, federal and private. $500,000 yearly.

Prison pilot site - prisoner needs - not able to interact can't use phone. Inmates involved in class at origination site. Inmates don't want to relate to each other. Sites tape classes. Don't want interference - can be used against them - aren't using as a support group. Inmates are volunteer - but mandated. For completing x hours get an extra family visit.

Class: 15 min: Class discussion of journal topic followed by each student writing about this topic. 10 minutes: spelling an/or dictation quiz. 1 hour Broadcast. 20 minutes: complete exercises not finished during downtime. 15 minutes: any of the following - read aloud, class review, word games, spelling activities, phonics activities (with class generated word list), begin homework in class.

Intercultural Development Research Association
"IDRA Family English Literacy Initiative,
1988. 12 pages (ED 318 304).

Describes the use of cable and broadcast television in instruction and in promoting IDRA's family literacy program for the Spanish-speaking community of San Antonio. TX.

Michigan - Jackson Prison
A. Furtado, D. Johnson
"Education and Rehabilitation in a Prison Setting"
Journal of Offender Counseling, Services and Rehabilitation
V4, N3, spring 1980 pages 247-273 (27 pages )

Four year bachelor program used various instructional formats such as workshops, conferences, and television"

National Institute of Justice Monograph
J. P. Conrad - author for Abt Associates, Inc,
"Adult Offender Education Programs"

Sponsored by US Department of Justice National Institute of Justice, Washington DC 20531.

Available from National Institute of Justice/National Criminal Justice Reference Service Microfiche Program
Box 6000 Department F. Rockville, MD 20850
194 pages. 1981 J-LEAA-013-78

Obstacles to correctional education (lack of funding, staff resistance, administrative shortsightedness or indifference and then develops five fundamental axioms that assert the value of correctional education and the right of inmates to receive it. Three component of a prison academic eduction program (adult basic eduction, secondary education leading to a high school diploma or its equivalent, and postsecondary education). Discusses technologies which allow the speedier achievement of learning objectives: one-on-one literacy instruction, Project Read, Title I Programs for elementary and secondary education, instructional television and computer-assisted instruction. Suggests inducement that may incline prisoners to try education."

Penn State Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy
BCEL Newsletter 1987

Project to investigate evolving technologies such as computers and videodiscs that can be used by literacy programs. Will help adult literacy programs learn how to incorporate technology in such setting as libraries, shopping centers, and schools. A video training package and print materials will be developed to orient teachers and tutors who have not used technology before. Will publish a newsletter and plans to develop criteria for evaluating computer software.

Yearbook of Correctional Education (Canadian)
18 articles. 1989 310 pages.

for sale by Simon Fraser University Institute for the Humanities, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6 Canada. Paperback.

What constitutes good correctional education. inmate motivation strategies, impact of television on prison order (probably commercial TV rather than instructional TV, but not stated in abstract.)

A California case study outlines arts in corrections, particulars of educating female inmates.

Research Dealing with Vocational Education Programs

Journal of Correctional Education
I. M. Halasz"

"Evaluating Vocational Education Program in Correctional Institutions"
33, no. 4 (December 1982) pp 7-10. (ERIC No. EJ 279 056.)

Discusses eight steps for evaluating vocational education programs in correctional institutions.

Correctional Education Association - ACA
E. A. Downes; K. R. Monaco; and S. O. Schreiber

"Evaluating the Effects of Vocational Education on Inmates: A Research Model and Preliminary Results.
In Yearbook of Correctional Education 1989
Edited by S. Duguid, Laurel, MD: Burnaby, BC:
Institute for the Humanities, Simon Fraser University, 1989
(ERIC Doc Reproduction Service No. ED 308 346).

This chapter describes the development and pilot testing of a research model that will be used for a long term follow-up study on ex-inmates who have completed vocational training during their incarceration.

V. Whithead; L. Munch; and T. Griffin

"Transitions: Vocational Education from Jail to Community. Final Report.
Springfield, IL, Department of Adult, Vocational, and Technical Education
Illinois State Board of Education
June 1987. (ERIC Doc Reproduction Service No. ED 287 098).

Describes a project conducted to help prison inmates in Will County, IL. make an effective transition to employment in the community"


Journal of Correctional Education
A. W. Zumpetta

"Full-Time Vocational Training in Corrections: Measuring Effectiveness vs. Appearance"
39, no. 3 (September 1988) pp 130-133. (ERIC No. EJ 375 797.)

Describes a study to measure the impressions of full-time vocational students who were incarcerated at the time of their training.


Maryland Correctional Training Center
R. E. Krogstad

"An Open-Ended Cycle System in Vocational Education"
Journal of Correctional Education, 38, no 1 (March 1987) pp 8-10 RIC No. EJ 350 316,

The open-ended competency -based vocational programming used at the Maryland Correctional Training Center is described.

Ohio State University
I.M. Halasz

Education Behind Bars: Focus on Vocational Education for Inmates. In Vocational Special Needs Learners: Five Years of Research and Development
Edited by J. K. Ciccone and J. E. Friedenberg.
Columbus: National Center for Research in Vocational Education
The Ohio State University, December 1988
(ERIC Doc No. ED 303 673)

This chapter provides a review and synthesis of the last five years of the literature related to vocational education in the corrections system (1983-1988). According to Halaz (1988) it seems appropriate to continue to study the relationship among education, employment, and recidivism based on the assumption that education leads to employment and employment can lead to successful reintegration into society. (p. 71)"

Ohio State University
L. Norton; J. K. Ciccone, J. F. Littlefield.

"Improving Vocational Programs for Female Inmates: A Comprehensive Approach to Quality programs"
Columbus; National Center for Research in Vocational Eduction,
The Ohio State University, 1987
(ERIC Doc Reproduction Service No. ED 279 863)

Provides guidelines and support to aid corrections administrators in improving the quality and quantity of vocational education programs offered at their institutions for female inmates."

Ohio State University
B. E. Simms; J. Farley, and J. F. Littlefield"

"Colleges with Fences: A Handbook for Correctional Education Program Improvement.
Columbus: National Center for Research in Vocational Education
The Ohio State University, 1986
(ERIC Doc Reproduction Service No. ED 284 982)

Based on a study of exemplary characteristics and practices of postsecondary vocational programs in correctional institutions, this handbook is intended to assist correctional educators in improving programs for incarcerated persons.

Ohio State University
C. R. Faddis; S. J. Goff; and J. P. Long.

"Funding Vocational Education in a Corrections Setting"
Columbus: National Center for Research in Vocational Education
The Ohio State University, December 1988
ERIC Doc No. ED 276 809 .

Assists Corrections administrators in the task of securing funding for vocational education programs, especially through preparing and submitting applications for grants.

Pennsylvania Statewide Corrections Education Inservice
R. L. Learn

"Incorporating Employability Skills into the Vocational Classroom"
Paper presented at Camp Hill PA August 10-12, 1988,
(ERIC Doc Reproduction Service No. ED 297-124)

Describes a process of incorporating employability skills directly into the curriculum in to the vocational corrections classroom.

Remedial and Special Education
J. S. Platt

"Vocational Education in Corrections: A Piece of a Bigger Pie"
7, no. 3 (May-June 1986), pp 48-55
(ERIC No. EJ 337 566)

Discusses the need for vocational programs in corrections to develop relationships with a variety of personnel within the institution and the community.

Wisconsin Correctional System
O. Nelson, H. Lee, Albertson

"Menomonie: Center for Vocational, Technical and Adult Education, Corrections Education Evaluation System Project, Site Visit Report.
University of Wisconsin-Stout, July 1988.
ERIC Doc Reproduction Service No. ED 308-223.

Reports on results of site visits to five correctional institutions in Wisconsin conducted as part of the development of an evaluation model for the competency-based vocational education project for the Wisconsin Correctional System .

Journals Regarding Correctional Education Research


    • Correctional Education
    • Journal of Correctional Education
    • Journal of Offender Counseling, Services and Rehabilitation
    • Prison Journal