Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons

This brief is designed to increase knowledge about how states are providing postsecondary education to incarcerated individuals. 
Laura Gorgol
Brian Sponsler
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Institute for Higher Education Policy
Publication Year
Resource Type
Number of Pages

As policymakers consider ways to increase educational attainment, generate future economic growth, and reduce public expenditures, educational opportunity for the incarcerated population should be a meaningful component of policy strategies. Designed to increase knowledge about how states are providing postsecondary education to incarcerated individuals, this brief rests on results of a national survey of state correctional education administrators (CEAs), presenting unique policy relevant information on the availability, administration, and funding of PSCE in state prison systems. A central purpose of the brief is to elevate the policy attention paid to postsecondary opportunity for incarcerated persons.

What the experts say

This issue brief outlines the status of postsecondary education for incarcerated individuals as well as policy changes that could increase incarcerated individuals' access to postsecondary education. It clearly describes the value, both intellectual and financial, associated with even simple exposure to postsecondary coursework, even without actual degree completion. This is a useful resource for administrators and other correctional education professionals interested in increasing prisoners’ access to postsecondary education during incarceration and post release.

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