Occupational Education and Recidivism

Prison-Based Education is Very Effective at Crime Prevention


Providing correctional education can be cost-effective when it comes to reducing recidivism.

  • Correctional education improves inmates' chances of not returning to prison.
  • Inmates who participate in correctional education programs had a 43 percent lower odds of recidivating than those who did not. This translates to a reduction in the risk of recidivating of 13 percentage points. Quote: RAND Safety and Justice Program research.

Prison-based Adult educational programs break down racial barriers and help a facility to run more smoothly. Prisoner-students know misbehavior can jeopardize their studies, so they are better behaved, less violent, and more cooperative. They have a positive, stabilizing effect in an otherwise chaotic environment, creating a safer prison culture for all who live and work in the facility.

National study outlines evidence linking prison-based education programs to reduced recidivism rates and crime prevention. Prison education programs are cost effective, with a $1 investment in prison education reducing incarceration costs by $4 to $5 during the first three years post-release. Titled "Education as Crime Prevention: Providing Education to Prisoners," the study says that prison education programs also lead to substantial savings, higher productivity and employment levels for released inmates, and improved security within prisons. HOPE for the future! Inmates interested in furthering their education are enhancing their employability on release. “We found strong evidence that correctional education plays a role in reducing recidivism,” said Lois Davis, the project's lead researcher and a senior policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “Our findings are clear that providing inmates education programs and vocational training helps keep them from returning to prison and improves their future job prospects.” Quotes from: RAND Safety and Justice Program research.

Vocational education programs are also offered at several institutions to provide training so that upon release, inmates can find employment in trades with marketable skills. Cut recidivism by only 10%, we'll save more than $62 billion a year, money we now pour down the national drain. Vocational training were 28 percent more likely to be employed after release from prison than who did not receive such training.


   Classrooms, Distance Learning

Vocational education is provided both in traditional classroom settings as well as through independent study and distance learning. This will ensure that offenders who leave prison are able to function on a job and in society. Appliance University has been working to develop models for rehabilitative programming that reduce costs while maximizing inmate participation, including training long-term offenders to assist other inmates with one-on-one literacy tutoring.