The Current State of Correctional Education

This resource is an overview of the state of correctional education in the United States.  It discusses the varying causes that has led to an increase in the need for correctional education along with the different possible solutions for overcoming the challenges posed.  This is a good resource for an individual who wants a strong foundation in background information in correctional education.

Anna Crayton
Suzanne Rebecca Neusteter
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Prisoner Reentry Institute, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Publication Year
Resource Type
Number of Pages

This paper will provide an overview of the state of adult correctional education in the United States. The paper will begin with a description of the various types of correctional education – academic, vocational, and competency-based programs – available in state and federal prisons and local jails, including private facilities. The paper will also include a summary of participation rates, and a profile of the incarcerated population, with particular emphasis on trends in literacy levels and educational attainment. An educational profile will be provided, disaggregated by race, age, class, and gender. The paper will then provide an overview of correctional education costs and offer some examples of funding streams as well as case studies of correctional education budgets. Finally, the paper will address the difficulties encountered in compiling information required to fully understand the current state of correctional education. Such problems are undeniably linked to the collection and availability of federal, state, and local correctional education data. The paper will identify specific areas and topics where information is lacking.

What the experts say

This is a comprehensive resource that provides credible and creditable information.  The statistics are often dense and extensive and in aggregate they tell a very compelling story with great evidentiary value.  The other notable portion of this resource is that it clearly and unequivocally sets out the divide between what is seen in the field to be a great and unavoidable need, and what the field is doing to meet that need.

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