It is tough enough to have a “Scarlet F” on one’s forehead when applying for a job, but felons have an added burden a new study claims. The Post-Release Employment and Recidivism Among Different Types of Offenders With A Different Level of Education: A 5-Year Follow-Up Study in Indiana found that participants in the study who achieved a high education level were more likely to find employment and less likely to recidivate. While this piece of information may look obvious, it is what is not happening in prisons regarding higher education that bears a second glance.
Reentry Central has published articles on the school-to-prison pipeline, in which school-aged youth are criminalized, mostly for minor transgressions, and suspended from school, or sent to a juvenile detention facility. This often leads to a disruption in the educational process of the youth, and for some, it will mean the end of their education. The reading level of many prisoners is functionally illiterate.
Prison education programs do their best to help an inmate obtain a G.E.D., at least, but for most facilities that’s as far as one can go. Pell Grants were discontinued for inmates wishing to pursue higher education, despite the fact that inmates who achieve post-secondary education are less likely to recidivate, and that means public safety is increased. Some Colleges and Universities actually send their staff inside to teach inmates. Unfortunately, that’s almost a rarity.
There is no magic formula that can predict if a reentrant will recidivate, but Post-Release Employment and Recidivism claims that the age of the reentrant, whether the reentrant is employed, and the reentrant’s educational level,may give good odds whether the person will land behind bars again.