The Post-Release Employment and Recidivism Among Different Types of Offenders With A Different Level of Education: A 5-Year Follow-Up Study in Indiana
Today, education programs in adult correctional facilities have encountered tremendous challenges due to the reduction and/or elimination of state and federal funding to support them. Yet, previous research consistently demonstrates that released offenders are more likely to be “unemployed” after release from prison due to their inadequate education and job skills (Vacca, 2004). The present researchers have conducted a 5-year (2005-2009) follow-up study to explore the impact of an offender’s education and post-release employment on recidivism among different types of offenders (i.e., violent, non-violent, sex, and drug offenders). This 5-year follow-up study of a cohort of 6,561 offenders represented 43.2 percent of a total of 15,184 offenders who were released from the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) custody throughout 2005. Results from this longitudinal study revealed that recidivist offenders were likely to be unemployed or under-educated. Furthermore, this study’s results showed that the employment status, age of the offender, and the offender’s level of formal education are the most important predictors of recidivism among released offenders, regardless of their type of offense. Most importantly, the offender’s level of formal education is an important element for reentry because it has a simultaneous effect on both post-release employment and recidivism.
This study is comprehensive and can have significant future impacts for planning and delivery of education services in correction facilities. It is a valuable resource to the field of Correctional Education research and relates important data that is relevant in the current Correctional Education climate. It illustrates the point that educating people and employing them is a critical part of helping them stay out of prison. This information can benefit educators, administrators and policy makers as they seek to distribute resources and funding within their educational departments.