Creating Better Opportunities by Investing in Inmate Education
By: Dr. Turner Nashe, Jr., Senior Vice President of Education Services at GTL
May 16, 2018
RESTON, Va., – (PR Newswire) It is well-known that the U.S. has high incarceration rates compared to other nations. But what is lesser-known is just how high the recidivism rate is compared to other developed countries. In the U.S., 76.6% of prisoners are re-arrested within five years. In Norway, by contrast, the recidivism rate is 20%. New prison reform programs and initiatives are focusing on ways to lower the recidivism rate, including using education and rehabilitation programs to help inmates re-integrate into society once released.
The majority of individuals who enter prison will be released. Yet little has been done to ensure they are ready to survive and thrive in the outside world. Research shows that 70–85% of prisoners return to prison because of two reasons – lack of education and lack of vocational skills. Educational programs provide opportunities for inmates to create new paths after incarceration, re-establish themselves in society, and find success on the outside. Such programs are key in making sure inmates can support themselves, and, in turn, give back to the community.
GTL’s Rehabilitative Education solutions are provided to inmates during incarceration through a Learning Management System that supplies credentialed education content on personal tablets. The tablets are used by inmates to take courses, complete degrees, and finish certifications. The goal is to provide inmates the ability to function better once released, get a good job, and stay out of prison. The numbers support this initiative. Education drastically reduces the likelihood that inmates will reoffend after being released and return to prison. The recidivism rate for inmates with a bachelor’s degree, for example, drops to 5.6%.
Inmate education and rehabilitation is becoming more and more a part of public conversation and even legislative action. The Prison Reform and Redemption Act is an example of legislation that is attempting to help the transition from prison to freedom by offering educational support, vocational skills development, substance abuse rehabilitation, mental health care, and other programs.
Education and other self-improvement programs in prisons allow inmates to learn valuable skills so they can become productive members of society once released. Anything that can be done to help advance that goal is well worth the effort.
Dr. Turner Nashe, Jr. is an entrepreneur, inventor, innovator, and recognized leader in building technology that facilitates delivery of educational and entertainment content to security sensitive industries such as correctional facilities, hospitals, and schools. His inventions have created innovative solutions for emerging eco-systems that are revolutionizing traditional approaches to the delivery of educational content within secure facilities. Dr. Nashe holds an Ed.D. in Administration and Supervision from Tennessee State University and a B.S. in Psychology from John Carroll University.