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NCJ Number: 205156 Find in a Library
Title: Expectations for Opportunities Following Prison Education: A Discussion of Race and Gender
Journal: Journal of Correctional Education  Volume:55  Issue:1  Dated:March 2004  Pages:24-39
Author(s): Patricia Case; David Fasenfest
Editor(s): John Dowdell; Russell Craig
Date Published: March 2004
Page Count: 16
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper summarizes the findings of four focus groups with ex-inmates, divided by race and gender who participated in prison post-secondary education programs while, incarcerated examining their perspectives on how useful the education was on locating and maintaining post-release employment.
Abstract: As part of the rehabilitation efforts of incarcerated individuals, educating inmates has become a widely accepted mechanism of addressing social and psychological needs of inmates with significant potential for reducing recidivism. The key to staying out of prison may be reintegration into the community. Successful reintegration is dependent upon many variables, one of which is finding employment and housing. There is support for maintaining post-secondary education in the corrections system due to its ability to lessen the barriers to reintegrate due to providing job skills, better life skills, and increased self-esteem. As part of an evaluation on the implementation and effectiveness of a Midwestern State’s prisoner education program in reducing the recidivism rates of respondents, researchers held several focus groups with ex-inmates to determine how useful the education that they had received in prison had been gaining in post-release employment. This paper summarizes the findings from the four focus groups which were divided by race and gender. The focus groups were designed to examine ex-inmates perspectives on whether or not post-secondary education had helped with social reintegration by reducing barriers to employment. White males were more likely to perceive college courses in prison as being beneficial, reported a higher level of self-esteem post education, reported continuing their education post-release, and were not likely to perceive barriers to post-release employment. However, Black males reported opposite experiences which included: placing more value in vocational training to obtain a work skill, experiencing lower levels of self esteem, and more barriers in finding and maintaining employment. Conclusions could not be drawn for females due to the number of females participating being to small. Overall, the study showed that having a college education or vocational training decreased recidivism more than high school/GED training, but it did not necessarily increase employability or decrease stigmatization post release. For the impact of post-secondary education to be fully understood, there must be additional research on the reintegration needs of ex-inmates. References
Main Term(s): Corrections education
Index Term(s): Barriers to ex-offender employment; Education; Education-crime relationships; Educational benefits; Ex-offender employment; Ex-offenders; Higher education; Inmate academic education; Inmate Education Assistance Programs; Recidivism; Recidivism causes; Social reintegration
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