skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 202381 Find in a Library
Title: Effect of Earning a GED on Recidivism Rates
Journal: Journal of Correctional Education  Volume:54  Issue:3  Dated:September 2003  Pages:90-94
Author(s): John Nuttall; Linda Hollmen; E. Michele Staley
Editor(s): Carolyn Eggleston
Date Published: September 2003
Page Count: 5
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined whether earning a High School Equivalency Diploma while incarcerated under the New York State Department of Correctional Services reduced an offender’s likelihood of returing to the department’s custody following release.
Abstract: Previous research studies have found that educational progress while incarcerated serves to reduce the likelihood of reincarceration. The New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) expands on this research by studying the effects of earning a GED on return-to-custody rates. The study presents data which compare recidivism rates of inmates who earned their GED (General Equivalency Diploma) while incarcerated in the New York State DOCS with inmates who were released from the department with no degree. All inmates released for the first time in 1996 from DOCS were selected for inclusion in the study. Inmates released were divided into 3 groups: (1) earned a GED in DOCS (n=2,330); (2) admitted to and released from DOCS with no degree (n=9,419); and (3) admitted to DOCS with a degree (high school or greater) (n=4,868). The major finding of this study was that among inmates first released from DOCS’ custody in 1996 due to parole release, conditional release, or maximum expiration of sentence, those who earned a GED while incarcerated returned-to-custody after a 3-year exposure period at a significantly lower rate (32 percent) than offenders who did not earn a GED while incarcerated (37 percent). The relationship between GED attainment and return-to-custody was stronger among offenders who were under age 21 at release than among inmates who were 21 years of age or older at release. These results validate the importance of the department’s emphasis on preparing inmates under the age of 21 to pass the GED exam. Tables and references
Main Term(s): Corrections education
Index Term(s): Educational benefits; Educational levels; General Educational Development; Inmate Education Assistance Programs; Inmate Programs; New York; Recidivism; Recidivism prediction
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.