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Education as Crime Prevention: Providing Education to Prisoners

I lost count of the number of people who have written me to ask if I know where they can find statistics on the impact of prison-based education programs on recidivism. After congress eliminated Pell grants for prisoners in 1994, resulting in deep cuts in prison education programs, this question has been posed to me with increasing frequency. Now I have the answer.

The Center on Crime, Communities and Culture released a research brief in September, 1997. This 16-page report pulls together all of the relevant information and statistics on prison-based education into one compact, readable source. The serious researcher will appreciate the final three pages of the report, which provide extensive bibliographical references.

The quantity of hard data contained in the report relating to prison-based education and recidivism is sparse. But that is no fault of the authors. Rather, it confirms what I have long suspected: not enough solid studies have been done.

In addition to presenting what data is available, the report offers the following recommendations: reinstatement of Pell grants and financial support from a variety of public/private sources; quality education for juvenile offenders with an emphasis on special education and transition to the community; post-release support programs, and; evaluations of program effectiveness.

Copies of "Education as Crime Prevention: Providing Education to Prisoners" are available free from: The Center on Crime, Communities & Culture; 888 Seventh Avenue; New York, NY 10106; or by calling (202) 887-0116 (no collect calls please).

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