« ABA delegates pass resolution against mandatory minimums and defer vote on resolution against new Sessions charging memo | Main | DC sniper Lee Malvo loses one bid for Miller resentencing in Maryland state courts »

August 16, 2017

"Let Prisoners Learn While They Serve"

The title of this post is the headline of this new New York Times editorial.  Here are excerpts:

Criminal justice officials across the country are struggling to break the recidivism cycle in which prisoners are released only to land right back behind bars.  These prisoners are among the most poorly educated people in the country, and that fact holds the key to a solution.  Decades of research has shown that inmates who participate in prison education programs — even if they fail to earn degrees — are far more likely to stay out of prison once they are freed.

That prison education programs are highly cost effective is confirmed by a 2013 RAND Corporation study that covered 30 years of prison education research.  Among other things, the study found that every dollar spent on prison education translated into savings of $4 to $5 on imprisonment costs down the line.  Other studies suggest that prisons with education programs have fewer violent incidents, making it easier for officials to keep order, and that the children of people who complete college are more likely to do so themselves, disrupting the typical pattern of poverty and incarceration.

Findings like these have persuaded corrections officials in both Democratic and Republican states to embrace education as a cost-effective way of cutting recidivism. But Republican legislators in New York — which spends about $60,000 per inmate per year — remain mired in know-nothingism and argue that spending public money on inmates insults taxpayers.  They have steadfastly resisted Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s common-sense proposal for making a modest investment in prison education programs that have already proved highly successful on a small scale in New York’s prisons....

Prison education programs were largely dismantled during the “tough on crime” 1990s, when Congress stripped inmates of the right to get the federal Pell grants that were used to pay tuition.  The decision bankrupted many prison education programs across the country and left private donors and foundations to foot the bill for those that survived.

Despite limited and unreliable funding, these programs have more than proved their value.  New York lawmakers who continue to block funding for them are putting ideology ahead of the public interest.

August 16, 2017 at 10:02 AM | Permalink


Rent seeking quackery by partisan teacher union agents, and registered Democrats.

"Remedial Work Required for CDCR Education Programs

This report finds significant shortcomings in the state’s provision of education programs for adult inmates in California prisons. Specifically, we have found low student enrollment levels compared to the number of inmates who could benefit from these programs, inadequate participation rates by inmates, a flawed funding allocation methodology, ineffective case management, and lack of regular program evaluation. Together, these problems mean that the state’s significant investment in prison education programs is not returning the full benefits possible in the forms of lower state costs and improved public safety."

Translation: does not work, so send more money.

From California left wing extremists at


Forget phony studies.

You get education in a low paid skill. You get released. Your parole officer has to call in favors to get an ex-con a job because all liability will be enhanced with a negligent hiring claim by regulators and by the tort bar. That may not be covered by business insurance.

You are making $10 an hour for difficult, unpleasant, and painful work.

Meanwhile, your criminal friends are all smiling at you. They are making $300 an hour, get up at 2 PM, pay no tax, work 10 hours a week, have all the sex with good looking female addicts they can handle. They are feared and respected by the young people, instead of being mocked.

You decide.

Posted by: David Behar | Aug 17, 2017 12:18:02 AM

Like most everything, many promises and no results - Just give money! They need trades and mentors to learn a trade. Not any more psychologists that are sicker then the patient!

Posted by: LC in Texas | Aug 18, 2017 4:29:40 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB