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Education in Prison

It is crucial that we invest more money and resources into providing adequate education programs for America's prisons, as doing so would likely result in an increase in work opportunities for inmates after incarceration and a decrease in the country's rates of recidivism. (The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the individual author, whose information can be found below.)

One of the many rights that most people do not count is their right to an education. Many who graduate high school or college go on to have successful lives, but the incarcerated are often overlooked in this area. Not every state requires or even offers education for their prisoners, and the ones that do are often, though not always, subpar. 

Although some prisons contain robust education systems, it still does not make up for the fact that, as estimated by The Literacy Project Foundation, 75% of the prison population is considered illiterate. This puts prisoners at a huge disadvantage, not only because of their criminal record and the social roadblocks that come with having one but also because a lack of education comes with its own set of roadblocks to success. It is unreasonable and appalling to expect prisoners to find a job after they serve time without the proper education and training. This is another reason why ex-convicts usually return to prison. 

According to Degree Choices, access to education has been shown to help improve prisoners' mental health while incarcerated; the education programs increased prisoners’ happiness, although most prisoners agreed that the education programs needed to be expanded — with higher quality programs and more work opportunities. Education can result in more positive mental health attitudes, and prisoners have every right to demand it. As citizens, they have the right to education just like any other American, regardless of their social status. 

Education is a crucial part of how we develop as humans. It would be unequivocally better to provide this education to allow prisoners to put their best foot forward, rather than having them continue to be in and out of the system, as many are today.

To see all sources consulted/reviewed/interviewed for the purposes of writing this article and/or to learn more about this article's author, click here.


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