Sunday, February 23, 2014


BATs Prison Education Initiative – Educate, Communicate, Activate! 2/23 thru 2/28

DAY 1/2 – EDUCATE!!!

Introduction

The Badass Teachers Association recognizes that education is a stepping stone to opportunity.  BATs also know that the corporate assault on urban education that is occurring today will widen the opportunity gap and create a larger school to prison pipeline.  That being said, there has been much commotion about spending money to educate people who are in prison when we are seeing funding cut to public education and teachers being laid off.  We cannot separate the two from the other.  By educating inmates the nation can better prepare prisoners for life after jail. Since the majority of inmates in the nation are minorities, this is an issue that disproportionately affects unemployment in minority communities. Studies show that one of every three black American men will be incarcerated at some point in his lifetime and one in every six Latino men. BATs know that when people who are incarcerated obtain an education they not only can provide for their families but break the cycle of poverty.  BATs understand that many students are affected by parents and other relatives in prison and prison education gives these students a chance at having a family that can be whole.

Students from two groups—racial minorities and children with disabilities—are disproportionately represented in the school-to-prison pipeline. African-American students, for instance, are 3.5 times more likely than their white classmates to be suspended or expelled, according to a nationwide study by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. Black children constitute 18 percent of students, but they account for 46 percent of those suspended more than once.

For students with disabilities, the numbers are equally troubling. One report found that while 8.6 percent of public school children have been identified as having disabilities that affect their ability to learn, these students make up 32 percent of youth in juvenile detention centers (Who’s in the Pipeline? From Teaching Tolerance:  The School to Prison Pipeline). The ACLU is committed to challenging the "school to prison pipeline," a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Many of these children have learning disabilities or histories of poverty, abuse or neglect, and would benefit from additional educational and counseling services. Instead, they are isolated, punished and pushed out. "Zero-tolerance" policies criminalize minor infractions of school rules, while cops in school lead to students being criminalized for behavior that should be handled inside the school. Students of color are especially vulnerable to push-out trends. The ACLU believes that children should be educated, not incarcerated. They are working to challenge numerous policies and practices within public school systems and the juvenile justice system that contribute to the school to prison pipeline

BATs would like to take this week to Educate, Communicate, and Activate towards a “ BATs Prison Education Initiative.”  We would like to do this for those who are in prison who hope for a better life and for those teachers who teach in prison hoping to change the course of a life with an education. Please take the knowledge we are providing during the course of the week to educate those around you and to continue our fight to provide an EDUCATION FOR ALL!


Educate

I believe college education within a penal environment is not only a valuable tool for the prisoner in gaining self-esteem and confidence, as well as future employment, but it is advantageous to society at large. A college educated prisoner has a greater capacity to function within a social context. Once integrated, the prisoner, educated at taxpayers’ expense, becomes a taxpayer. He/she now can function as a productive member of the community. Education is one of the best investments a society can make within a penal setting.  ~Ahmad Tootoonchi

.Ahmad Tootoonchi, “College Education in Prisons: The Inmates’ Perspectives,” Federal Probation, Vol. 57, No 4 (Dec. 1993), 39.

From U.S. Department of Justice:  Prison Education Project

In 2013 the Rand Corporation found that, on average, inmates who participated in correctional education programs had 43 percent lower odds of returning to prison than inmates who did not.  Each year approximately 700,000 individuals leave federal and state prisons; about half of them will be reincarcerated within three years.  The research was funded by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

The findings, from the largest-ever analysis of correctional educational studies, indicate that prison education programs are cost effective.  According to the research, a one dollar investment in prison education translates into reducing incarceration costs by four to five dollars during the first three years after release, when those leaving prison are most likely to return.

With funding from The Second Chance Act (P.L. 110-199) of 2007, the RAND Corporation’s analysis of correctional education research found that employment after release was 13 percent higher among prisoners who participated in either academic or vocational education programs than among those who did not.  Those who participated in vocational training were 28 percent more likely to be employed after release from prison than those who did not receive such training.

The Federal Government set up The Reentry Council in 2001. The Reentry Council’s members are working to make communities safer by reducing recidivism and victimization; assisting those who return from prison and jail in becoming contributing members of their communities; and saving taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration.  Attorney General Holder chairs the Reentry Council which he established in January 2011.

To view the research, please visit: www.bja.gov/Publications/RAND_Correctional-Education-Meta-Analysis.pdf.

For more information about the federal interagency Reentry Council, please visit:  http://csgjusticecenter.org/nrrc/projects/firc/.


From Prison Studies Project:  Why Prison Education?

http://prisonstudiesproject.org/why-prison-education-programs/

Studies conducted over the last two decades almost unanimously indicate that higher education in prison programs reduces recidivism and translates into reductions in crime, savings to taxpayers, and long-term contributions to the safety and well-being of the communities to which formerly incarcerated people return.

Recent research on prison education programs presents discouraging statistics on the current recidivism rate. The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) reported in 2011 that nearly 7 in 10 people who are formerly incarcerated will commit a new crime, and half will end up back in prison within three years. Given that about 95 out of every 100 incarcerated people eventually rejoin society,[1] it is crucial that we develop programs and tools to effectively reduce recidivism.

Prison education is far more effective at reducing recidivism than boot camps, “shock” incarceration or vocational training, according to the National Institute of Justice.[2] In 2001, the Correctional Education Association’s “Three State Recidivism Study” quantified this reduction, demonstrating that correctional education lowered long-term recidivism by 29 percent.[3]

A 2005 IHEP report cites yet higher numbers, reporting that recidivism rates for incarcerated people who had participated in prison education programs were on average 46 percent lower than the rates of incarcerated people who had not taken college classes. The same report examined 15 different studies conducted during the 1990s and found that 14 of these showed reduced long-term recidivism rates among people who had participated in postsecondary correctional education.[4]

The vast majority of people in U.S. prisons do not have a high school diploma. A high correlation exists between the level of education attained by an incarcerated person and his or her recidivism rate. The American Correctional Association has reported that in Indiana the recidivism rate for GED completers is 20 percent lower than the general prison population’s rate, and the recidivism rate for college degree completers is 44 percent lower than the general population’s.[5] In other words, the higher the degree earned, the lower the recidivism rate.

[1] Laura E. Gorgol and Brian A. Sponsler, “Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons,” Institute for Higher Education Policy, 2011

[2] Lawrence W. Sherman et. al, “Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Promising,” National Institute of Justice, 1998

[3] Stephen Steurer, Linda Smith, and Alice Tracy, “Three State Recidivism Study,” Correctional Education Association, 2001

[4] Wendy Erisman and Jeanne Bayer Contardo, “Learning to Reduce Recidivism: A 50-State Analysis of Postsecondary Correctional Education Policy,” Institute for Higher Education Policy, 2005

(5] Stephen Steurer, John Linton, John Nally, and Susan Lockwood, “The Top-Nine Reasons to Increase Correctional Education Programs,” Corrections Today, 2010.


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