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You are here: ED Homepage > OVAE >Adult Education > Correctional Education > Research
Archived  Information


Research: Evaluation of State Correctional Education

Prior to Fiscal Year 1999, the Adult Education Act required a State to set aside 10 percent of its Basic State Grant funding for people institutionalized in prisons and other facilities, and the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act required a State to set aside 1 percent of its Basic State Grant funds for correctional education.

The Department contracted for a 30-month study to examine how correctional education programs funded with these federal monies function in medium security, adult, State correctional facilities. In addition, the study will inspect the connection between types of educational programs and different outcomes.

Specifically, the contractor is examining the relationship between correctional education programs and the rates at which inmates:

  • earn high school diplomas or General Educational Development certificates
  • complete vocational training
  • pursue further education
  • succeed in finding and keeping employment after release
  • remain out of the correctional system
  • avoid disciplinary actions while incarcerated

The objectives of the study are to:

  • describe how states use federal and State funds to educate incarcerated persons
  • examine the goals and approaches of different correctional education programs
  • identify which programs achieve their goals and why

The American Institutes for Research has begun the process of drafting a final report for this study. A release date for the report has not been set. Upon publication, the report will be available in the Correctional Education Library.

Three-State Recidivism Study

The Office of Correctional Education and the Correctional Education Association (CEA) are jointly working on a project that examines the impact of correctional education on the rate of recidivism. Through a supplement to an existing grant with the State of Minnesota, technical assistance funds are being used to fund a study utilizing a sample of individuals released from three State correctional systems (Minnesota, Maryland, and Ohio). The sample includes 3,000 individuals (1,000 from each State), a significant percentage of whom will have been exposed to educational programming during their incarceration. CEA personnel are assisting the researchers in the area of data gathering, data management, and coordination with the three State systems involved.

The project consists of two data collection phases. The first phase includes giving the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) to each person in the sample group as a means of establishing academic competencies. This testing is followed by surveying each member of the sample for data on the following personal characteristics: family situation; educational experiences; and, involvement in drug and alcohol treatment.

The second phase of data collection will involve searching local, State and National crime information databases for rearrest and reincarceration rates. In addition, this phase will include surveying probation/parole staff to determine success of a sample of the study participants in obtaining and retaining employment. Information will be collected on: recidivism rates; further education; and, employment.

Preliminary results from this study will be available in the Correctional Education Library upon publication. The Department expects publication of first-year post-release data in fall 2000.

The product of the literature review done as a precursor to this study -- concise summaries and critiques of 19 studies examining the relationship between correctional education and recidivism -- is currently available from OCE.

Special Education and Incarcerated Youth

The Office of Correctional Education is working in conjunction with a multi-agency task force to produce a series of publications relating to special education and youth in the correctional system. These publications, which will address various issues surrounding delinquency, corrections, and learning disabled youth in custody, will be available in the Correctional Education Library upon publication.

This page last modified—March 17, 2003 (syr).

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