Rehabilitation Programs in Prisons
Effectiveness through Education
Founded in 1890, Blackstone is one of the oldest distance learning schools in the U.S. Along with a long history of providing high quality, affordable and accessible education, Blackstone offers Paralegal programs to prison inmates. Many inmates are looking for a positive endeavor while incarcerated. Inmates from over 1,800 facilities across the nation have turned to Blackstone Career Institute to further their education.
Correspondence, also called distance education, is a method of learning which brings the study materials and the student together in the student’s own environment or in this case, facility. After enrolling, everything needed to complete the program will be sent to the student in monthly shipments. Students study at their own pace on the schedule he or she sets. Communication between the school and student is through the USPS mail system. After reading each study unit, students complete the related exams and mail their answer sheets in pre-addressed envelopes. Grade reports are returned to the student accompanied by page references for incorrect answers.
Education is the cornerstone of success and has proven benefits for the incarcerated, such as:
- a lower rate of recidivism
- increased employment prospects
- a higher self-esteem
- more marketable job skills
- a means to transition into society
A lower rate of recidivism
Over 7.6 million people in America are currently incarcerated, on probation, or out on parole. And while 650,000 inmates are released every year, a National Institute of Justice study found:
- Within one year of release, more than half (56.7%) of released prisoners are rearrested.
- Within three years of release, two-thirds (67.8%) of released prisoners are rearrested.
- Within five years, more than three-quarters (76.6%) of released prisoners are rearrested.
However, receiving education while incarcerated or immediately upon release has proven:
- With vocational training, the recidivism rate drops to approximately 30%.
- With an Associate degree, recidivism drops to 13.7%.
- With a Bachelor’s degree, recidivism drops to 5.6%.
- With a Master’s degree, recidivism is so low that it’s effectively 0%.
Increased employment prospects
The legal knowledge gained through our Paralegal certificate program may provide opportunities for inmates to make money while incarcerated and once released.
We often hear from graduates who were incarcerated that the legal knowledge gained through taking a Blackstone course helped them with their case, allowed them to offer fellow inmates advice for their cases and obtained paralegal positions upon their release. In fact, many of them state they have found positions with attorneys they met while incarcerated or during their court proceedings.
Employment is up to the employer’s discretion and depends on the nature of the offense. He or she may be limited in their capacity to obtain certain positions within the federal and state government or positions that require a two-year or four-year degree.
A higher self-esteem
This is a statistic gathered from our Student Surveys, Graduate Surveys and general feedback. Here are just a few recent statements from inmates who have completed BCI’s Paralegal course:
|Blackstone Career Institute provided me with a positive outlet in which to channel my energy and time while incarcerated. Now, upon release, I have a range of employment opportunities available that will ensure my successful reintegration into society.
|Through my progress in this course I felt such great fulfillment and felt a sense of pride in my progress; which for someone like me in prison is an amazingly powerful feeling.
|The Blackstone Paralegal course has give me a renewed hope and confidence in myself and my new career as a paralegal/legal assistant for when I am able to rejoin the workforce after release from prison in 2019.
|This course not only helped me serve my time, it also gave me confidence that I completed a program that may lead to a future career. I’m going home with a certificate, not just prison stories.
|Taking this course while incarcerated helped me feel in control of my future. Completing this course gave me a major confidence and self-esteem boost.
|For me, taking this course was about more than just self-fulfillment and passing time. It was about showing tangible results to my family and I really am trying to turn my life around!
Of the thousands of BCI graduates, 96% say they have achieved their learning goals and 94% are completely satisfied with the studies they received.
More marketable job skills
Inmates choose to take our course for various reasons. They realize the value of continuing their education, they want to become more knowledgeable in understanding their own case, or they want to show the parole board that they are working for positive change.
In addition to having the knowledge of American Law that our program provides, other skills that employers are looking for, such as professionalism and good verbal and written communication skills are practiced and gained through the completion of the course. Entire chapters are devoted to Legal Research and Writing, Ethics as a Paralegal, and building a resume and cover letter – all provide students the marketable job skills employers will look for.
Securing employment is possible. Education is never a guarantee of employment, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.
A means to transition into society
While increased employment prospects help returning prisoners transition into society physically – with opportunity for a place to live and to work – education can also make it easier for returning prisoners to transition back into society mentally and emotionally. Education can improve in-prison behavior and promote reentry success by changing students’ thinking patterns, attitudes, and behaviors. Many scholars believe that education can also increase pro-social attitudes and moral reasoning, improve self-esteem and self-efficacy and help individuals develop a pro-social identity.
Offenders may qualify for earned time, a significant perk of Blackstone’s Paralegal course. Consult with the education director for eligibility and the policies that apply in each state.