THE BENEFITS OF COLLEGE EDUCATION IN PRISON:
College education in prison benefits the students who take classes as well as correctional officers, corrections systems, family members of those who are in prison, communities/neighborhoods hardest hit by mass incarceration, and tax payers.
- Higher education programs improve prison environments, translating into fewer disciplinary infractions and a safer workplace for corrections officers
- A RAND meta-analysis found that people in prison who participated in structured education while incarcerated were 43% less likely to recidivate than those who did not
- Research shows that an investment in education for incarcerated people saves money:
- For every $962 spent on academic education in prisons, taxpayer’s costs for criminal justice are reduced by $5,306
- Effective correctional education in prisons saves taxpayer dollars: $18,821 is saved for every person in prison who successfully completed prison education programming
- College Education increases people’e economic opportunities as educational attainment is the most important social characteristic predicting earnings:
- Lifetime earnings increase for people with higher education over those with a HS diploma: 261K with some college; 442K with an AA degree; 1,051,000 with a BA degree
- College Education in prison provides students with the opportunity to gain tools to prepare for their eventual release and contributes to the rehabilitative potential of a prison sentence
College education in prison produces positive outcomes system-wide: fewer victims of crime, less money in the long-term spent on incarceration, an increased tax-base generated by employable returning citizens, and safer, stronger communities at large.
 The Urban Institute’s 2009 report, “The Effects of Postsecondary Correctional Education” http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED508247.pdf).
 RAND Corporation’s 2013 Report, “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education” http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR200/RR266/RAND_RR266.pdf
 Brazzell, et al., From the Classroom to the Community, p. 19.
Aos, et al., Washington State Institute for Public Policy, July 2011.