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.”
 RAND Corporation’s 2013 Report, “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education”
 Brazzell, et al., From the Classroom to the Community, p. 19.
Aos, et al., Washington State Institute for Public Policy, July 2011.