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How Effective Is Correctional Education, and Where Do We Go from Here? The Results of a Comprehensive Evaluation

How Effective Is Correctional Education, and Where Do We Go from Here? The Results of a Comprehensive Evaluation

Lois M. Davis
Jennifer L. Steele
Robert Bozick
Malcolm V. Williams
Susan Turner
Jeremy N. V. Miles
Jessica Saunders
Paul S. Steinberg
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: RAND Corporation
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  • Book Info
    How Effective Is Correctional Education, and Where Do We Go from Here? The Results of a Comprehensive Evaluation
    Book Description:

    This report assesses the effectiveness of correctional education programs for both incarcerated adults and juveniles and the cost-effectiveness of adult correctional education. It also provides results of a survey of U.S. state correctional education directors that give an up-to-date picture of what correctional education looks like today. Finally, the authors offer recommendations for improving the field of correctional education moving forward.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8529-0
    Subjects: Political Science, Education, Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. iii-iv)
    Denise E. O’Donnell

    Each year, thousands of incarcerated individuals leave the nation’s prisons and jails and return to their families and communities. While many successfully reintegrate into their communities, find jobs, and become productive members of society, others may commit new crimes and return to jail or prison. For juveniles involved in the juvenile justice system, the rate of youth incarceration in the United States is more than three times the highest rates in other developed nations. Although many factors account for why some formerly incarcerated adults and youth succeed and some don’t, lack of education and skills is one key reason. This...

  3. Preface
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  5. Figure and Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xxiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Each year, more than 700,000 incarcerated individuals leave federal and state prisons; within three years of release, 40 percent will have committed new crimes or violated the terms of their release and be reincarcerated. Although a number of factors impede the ability of ex-offenders to successfully reintegrate into communities and, thus, affect recidivism rates, one key factor is that many ex-offenders do not have the knowledge, training, and skills to support a successful return to their communities. Research, for example, shows that ex-offenders, on average, are less educated than the general population:

    37 percent of individuals in state prisons had...

  10. CHAPTER TWO How Effective Is Correctional Education for Incarcerated Adults?
    (pp. 7-20)

    As mentioned in Chapter One, the centerpiece of RAND’s evaluation of correctional education for BJA entailed determining how effective correctional education is in improving outcomes for incarcerated adults. We focused on three outcomes of interest: reducing recidivism, promoting postrelease employment, and improving learning in reading and in math among adults. To measure effectiveness, we carried out a comprehensive systematic review of existing literature to identify relevant studies of correctional education effectiveness, followed by a meta-analysis of the relevant studies identified—a statistical method that synthesizes findings across multiple studies. Also, to put the effectiveness results in some context, we performed...

  11. CHAPTER THREE A Systematic Review of Correctional Education Programs for Incarcerated Juveniles
    (pp. 21-56)

    In 2011, about 61,000 individuals below age 21 were incarcerated on any given day in the United States. This figure represents roughly a quarter of 1 percent of the population age 15–20 in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011; Sickmund et al., 2013). By comparison, roughly 1 percent of the U.S. adult population was being held in prisons and jails in the same year (Glaze and Parks, 2012, U.S. Census Bureau, 2011), so the rate of juvenile incarceration is markedly lower than that for adults. In addition, the number of incarcerated youth in the United States has declined...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR RAND Correctional Education Survey
    (pp. 57-80)

    When we began our correctional education study, we recognized early on that the 2008 recession had a substantial effect on the field of correctional education, with many states reporting cuts in funding for programs and changes to their delivery models for educating incarcerated adults, including such changes as shortening the length of time individuals spent in programs, reducing the number of teachers, reducing the number of program slots, and cutting some programs altogether. Such changes mean that today correctional education in the United States likely looks very different from correctional education during the time that many of the studies in...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions and Recommendations
    (pp. 81-90)

    The key finding from this comprehensive study of correctional education in the United States is that correctional education is effective in reducing recidivism for incarcerated adults and that there is reasonable evidence that it is also effective, especially vocational training, in improving individuals’ likelihood of postrelease employment. Our cost analysis further showed that correctional education is highly cost-effective for incarcerated adults—for every dollar spent on correctional education, five dollars are saved on three-year reincarceration costs. Our report also provides the most comprehensive systematic review we are aware of on what works in correctional education for incarcerated juveniles. For example,...

  14. APPENDIX A Summary of Studies for the Juvenile Correctional Education Review
    (pp. 91-98)
  15. APPENDIX B RAND Correctional Education Survey Questionnaire
    (pp. 99-116)
  16. References
    (pp. 117-124)