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The Impact of Prison Education Programs on Post-Release Outcomes

This paper reviews the evidence on the impact of correctional education programs on post-release outcomes.
Author(s): 
Gerald Gaes
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
Florida State University
Published: 
2008
Resource Type: 
Product
Number of Pages: 
11
Product Type: 
Target Audience: 
Abstract: 
This paper reviews the evidence on the impact of correctional education programs on post-release outcomes. Such reviews have been a popular enterprise in this research domain. There have been four meta-analyses, several “vote counting” reviews where analysts list studies that support or disconfirm the benefits of correctional education and then draw conclusions about the overall impact, and many other summaries of the research literature where the researchers select a few studies, cite their results, and draw inferences. The critical analysts, those that closely evaluate and assess the study methodology are much less sanguine about the relationship between correctional education and successful reentry than the more forgiving analysts who treat all of the research results in this literature on an equal footing. We believe the takeaway message is that correctional education does promote successful prisoner reentry. However, we only have an approximation of the true impact – the actual effect size. Even small effect sizes can produce substantial net cost-benefits especially for criminal justice costs that include adult corrections.
What the Experts Say: 

This resource offers a lot of information clearly and concisely. It lays out facts and dissects the data in a manageable and easy to follow way, and can be extremely valuable for back-up documentation, design methodology, and support of needed education programming for those designing and/or trying to improve a correction education program.

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