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4 Ways Education Can Help Overcome Barriers and Avoid Recidivism

Education is part of society’s opportunity to encourage growth among individuals as they learn, collaborate, and prepare to make contributions to further the communities around them. From grade school through post-graduate programs, there are a plethora of opportunities to advance knowledge in various fields.

Some of the benefits to education include strengthening problem-solving skills, developing social skills, giving back to society, bridging cultural and societal gaps, and creating avenues for employment and an income.

Statistics continue to show the benefits of education, and it is no exception for those who are incarcerated. Regardless of one’s past experiences, there are ways to take steps toward a better future, and it could start with investigating educational opportunities within a prison facility.

Whether you are looking for educational programs as an inmate or have a loved one who could benefit from a program, here are four reasons why education can overcome barriers and avoid recidivism.

1. Decrease in re-recidivism

Statistics show that 53% of those who are in state prisons have earned less than a high school diploma or GED. This is a significant statistic that correlates with the lack of education most individuals have received prior to being incarcerated.

In another study by the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC), approximately half of the individuals who completed their sentence and were released from a federal prison were rearrested and re-incarcerated within a time frame of eight years.

Those who had not completed a high school diploma program were rearrested at a rate of 60%, while the number for those who had finished a college degree dropped drastically at a rearrested rate of 19%.

The benefits to those who complete an educational program while incarcerated continue to expand well beyond a decreased re-recidivism rate. Some of those statistics show a decrease in violent activity, encouragement to other family members to pursue education and a college degree, and lower unemployment risk while creating a perspective of bettering the community through volunteerism based on the knowledge that was acquired.

2. Employment opportunities

Taking action to pursue education while incarcerated could increase the potential of finding a position for employment upon release. Although this can not be guaranteed, having credible credentials from an education program could be appealing to employers.

Having completed an education program while serving time can be a way to showcase soft skills including proactiveness and a desire to learn as well as apply information that was acquired.

Additionally, in some educational courses, inmates who complete the program will receive the necessary clock hours to sit for certain board exams to become certified in their specific field.

One example is in the paralegal field. Taking the time to prepare and study for an exam and becoming certified is one more step to showcase diligence and application with the course work.

3. Cost Effectiveness

Education among the incarcerated benefits society as a whole while encouraging those serving time to invest in meaningful work. Some statistics have shown that an investment of a dollar in a prison education program could have a greater return of value by saving taxpayers quadruple the amount in costs associated with re-recidivism.

By promoting educational courses in state and federal facilities not only are incarcerated individuals being encouraged towards positive growth, but taxpayers play a role in encouraging a successful community.

4. Community Growth

Receiving education while incarcerated can also spur on a positive community outlook. Having educational awareness and knowledge on a topic can allow for conversations among those in the community as well as opportunities to do something with that information.

This could present itself in the form of volunteer work, employment, or even encouragement to the younger generation to pursue their own education. With something meaningful to dedicate time and energy to, the risk for recidivism decreases.

These four ways to view the benefits of education as a way of reducing recidivism are a sample of how a program could encourage an inmate on a path towards empowerment and growth for themselves and the community.

Start Your Education Today

Blackstone Career Institute offers Paralegal programs for the incarcerated, which range from the general paralegal course to advanced courses on specific areas of the law. With access to soft bound copies of the textbooks and guidance from an instructor trained in the paralegal field, you will have the necessary tools to complete the course and be eligible to sit for the NALA exam to become a certified paralegal (CP).

Visit the Inmate Education section for all the specific details on how to get started on redefining and furthering your education to make it work for you! Have specific questions? Speak with one of our admissions counselors today.