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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 81485 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: You've Got To Be a Little Insane
Author(s): J R Mahoney
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This speech criticizes evaluations of correctional education programs that rely on recidivism as a measure of effectiveness and discusses realistic objectives for correctional educators.
Abstract: Teachers in correctional facilities face substantial problems, such as student depression, the negative institutional atmosphere, limited budgets, and low professional prestige. Moreover, evaluation studies often give the impression that such programs are a waste of time and money because they do not reduce recidivism. The 1973 'Final Evaluation Report on the Newgate Prisoners Education Program' described problems inherent in using recidivism as the sole criterion of effectiveness and then formulated two other program evaluation categories. One was termed 'making it,' a means of assessing a program participant's performance in the community, while the other was defined as 'doing good,' the extent to which a person established a secure and satisfying lifestyle. Although the evaluation found no significant differences between Newgate students and other residents in regard to recidivism, the Newgate students scored well on the additional criteria. Public dissatisfaction with rehabilitation is based on unrealisic assumptions about teacher roles and the capacity of correctional education to affect human change. Educational rhetoric has encouraged teachers to believe that they alone have the capacity to affect the whole person, but these humanistic ideals are impossible to achieve in the classroom. Teachers instead should focus on instructional functions they know they can perform and rely on more reasonable performance measures, such as grade level advances, class retention rates, and number of courses completed. Correctional education can be justified on the grounds that it offers residents the opportunity to use their time creatively and that they have a right to quality education. The document contains eight references.
Index Term(s): Education; Evaluation criteria; Recidivism
Note: Presented at the Corrections Education Institute, Illinois Department of Corrections, reprinted from '1977 Conference Report on Correctional Education'
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