Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education: A Meta-Analysis of Programs That Provide Education to Incarcerated Adults
Sep. 23, 2013
“In this report, we [the authors] examine the evidence about the effectiveness of correctional education for incarcerated adults in the United States. By correctional education, we mean the following: adult basic education (ABE): basic skills instruction in arithmetic, reading, writing, and, if needed, English as a second language (ESL); adult secondary education (ASE): instruction to complete high school or prepare for a certificate of high school equivalency, such as the General Education Development (GED); vocational education or career and technical education (CTE): training in general employment skills and in skills for specific jobs or industries; and postsecondary education (PSE): college-level instruction that enables an individual to earn college credit that may be applied toward a two-year or four-year postsecondary degree. Although some may consider life skills programs a part of correctional education, our project focuses specifically on the four types of academic and vocational training programs summarized above. We also limit our focus to correctional education programs provided in the institutional setting, as opposed to postrelease or community-based programs. Finally, our focus is on correctional education programs provided at the state level” (p. 1). Six chapters comprise this report: introduction; study methodology; the relationship between correctional education and recidivism; the relationship between correctional education and employment; the relationship between computer-assisted instruction and academic performance; and conclusions. Inmates who participated in correctional education programs recidivated 43% less, were 13% more likely to find jobs post-release, and learned just as well using computer-assisted instruction as being taught face-to-face. Appendixes provide summaries of the studies included in the recidivism, employment, and computer-assisted instruction meta-analyses.