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April 4, 2011

"Cost and Punishment: Reassessing Incarceration Costs and the Value of College-In-Prison Programs"

The title of this post is the title of this new piece by Gregory Knott, which is now available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article argues that college-in-prison programs are an effective response to prison population growth and cost explosions -- admittedly on a limited scale.  The programs reduce long-term costs through investments in education.  Such offerings are not suitable for every prisoner, but can be highly effective for those individuals in a position to benefit from devoting time in prison to learning. 

The article begins with an overview of the untenable situation in U.S. prisons, including the burden of the population and cost boom in prisons across the country.  Second, the article examines the prison population to determine which individuals there might benefit from education.  Third, the study considers theories of penology and the place an education program might occupy in the respective theories.  Fourth, the article describes college-in-prison programs and their efforts to address the needs of both prisoners and the populace paying for the prison system.  Finally, the article considers the role of college-in-prison programs as part of the risk management paradigm currently predominant in criminal justice systems.

April 4, 2011 at 09:25 PM | Permalink


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There cannot be a hard fast rule, only utility. If a prisoner will get practical skills, become a money maker, and help to for his damages and prison costs, why not? If the plan is to turn out prison poets, forget it.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 5, 2011 5:44:44 AM

I have read the 33 page study and concur with its findings. Practically speaking though, in today's tight job market, employers are picking the cream of the crop and are not considering those with a criminal background. Hopefully as our ailing economy heals we will see opportunities open up and those educated while incarcerated given a second chance at becoming productive citizens. With a prison population so large in the United States recruiters and employers will need to adjust their beliefs. One thing they may want to consider is these people may be some of the best workers as they want so bad to prove themselves and have shown they have self descipline under the worst of circumstances.

Posted by: Audrey | Apr 5, 2011 2:06:27 PM

Thank you for sharing,it is very helpful and I really like it!

Posted by: Big pony | Apr 11, 2011 6:03:41 AM

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