Limited access to education inside American prisons imposes a devastating condition of confinement that cripples both the offender and the community. The prolonged and empty time that characterizes prison today affords little mental stimulation, productive engagement, or preparation for post-release employment. Recent research and analysis has found that education during incarceration correlates with lower rates of recidivism and increases the likelihood and quality of post-release employment. There is a pronounced racially disparate dimension to these effects that are concentrated in communities where investment by the criminal justice system is extraordinarily high. Failure to provide education and the resulting higher rates of recidivism exacerbate prison overcrowding and inflate the costs of incarceration. Initiatives for expanding and evaluating diverse models of education, restoring federal funding for higher education inside prison, and forging partnerships between academia and people inside prison offer the hope of improved conditions both in our prisons and in our communities.
Dignam, Brett, "Learning to Counter Mass Incarceration Symposium Essays" (2016). Connecticut Law Review. 326.