Corrections and Reentry: Digital Literacy Acquisition Case Study

Examination of digital literacy acquisition learning experiences designed to prepare prisoners for re-entry (a case study)


Withers, E., Jacobs, G., Castek, J., Pizzolato, D., Pendell, K., & Reder S.
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Portland State University
Publication Year
Resource Type
Number of Pages

This case study examines the experiences of incarcerated adult males enrolled in a component of a re-entry program, Digital Literacy Acquisition, and is a segment of a larger focus on the reentry process for successful reintegration of prisoners into society and life.  This study takes place in the Orleans Parrish Prison (OPP), located in New Orleans, Louisiana and provides insightful information on the role of digital learning relative to rehabilitative efforts of re-entry programs within a correctional facility.

The model examined in this case study is one that is self-paced, reinforced, tutor facilitated and offers online support for goal directed, learner specific content that is customizable and shareable across varying programs for use by different facilitators. The intent is for participants to learn the relevance of digital literacy to their lives, confront and overcome their fear of technology, and acquire a strong sense of self-confidence.

This study explores a range of relevant topics that are specific to the adult re-entry population such as: The learner experience; Relevance; Moving from fear to confidence; Developing self-efficacy and self-confidence; Empowerment; Changing self-identity and imagining possible futures, as well as, the benefits of mentoring and implications

Benefits and Uses

This case study is an insightful resource for Adult Education programs, educators and administrators, as well as for policymakers; community based partners and re-entry professionals.  It provides classic examples of threats that can prohibit, or limit Digital Literacy training programs in a correctional facility, as well as offers practical workable solutions and justifications for ongoing program development.

Adult learners who are reintegrating back into society after years of separation offer examples of real and perceived technologically based challenges, barriers and weaknesses related to self-efficacy, workplace skills and soft skills, which are addressed by this study to elicit descriptive examples of a Digital Literacy Acquisition program model that works.

The most significant feature for the target audiences is that the model can be adapted and incorporated into a more extensive model that offers wrap around services to facilitate incorporation into a successful re-entry process that can aid in the reduction of recidivism on both national and global levels. 


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