OVAE Connection - Issue 166 - September 5, 2013

OVAE Connection

                                                     OVAE Connection -  September 5, 2013 - Issue 166

The Debate Is Over: New RAND Report Finds That Correctional Education Works Against Recidivism and for Employment

The RAND Corporation recently released the report, Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education: A Meta-Analysis of Programs That Provide Education to Incarcerated Adults, a collaborative effort of the departments of Justice (DOJ) and Education. The report, an initiative of the RAND Correctional Education Project, is a meta-analysis of correctional education studies. According to its findings, correctional education does, in fact, perform a role in reducing recidivism. Incarcerated individuals receiving general education and vocational training are both significantly less likely to return to prison and more likely to find employment than are peers not receiving education and training opportunities. 

In 2010, some 700,000 individuals of the 1.6 million state and federal prisoners were released from prison. Forty percent of these former inmates will be re-incarcerated within three years. Providing incarcerated inmates with the knowledge, training, and skills they need to make a successful return to their communities has been a vital strategy to counter recidivism. “Investing in these education programs helps released prisoners get back on their feet—and stay on their feet—when they return to communities across the country,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, based on the results of the study. 

To help reduce recidivism and improve employment outcomes for incarcerated adults, RAND’s Correctional Education Project, with funding from the DOJ's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), under the Second Chance Act (P.L. 110-199), conducted a comprehensive examination of the current state of correctional education for incarcerated adults and juveniles. The study looks at where it is headed, which correctional education programs are effective, and how effective programs can be implemented across different settings. The study’s meta-analysis of adult correctional education research produced several key findings: 

  • Inmates who participate in correctional education programs were 43 percent less likely to recidivate than inmates who did not.
  • Post-release employment was 13 percent higher among prisoners who participated in either academic or vocational education programs than those who did not. Inmates who participated in vocational training were 28 percent more likely to obtain post-release employment than those who did not receive such training.
  • Prison education programs are cost effective. The direct costs of providing correctional education are significantly lower than re-incarceration costs. RAND estimated education program costs at $1,400 to $1,744 per incarcerated individual with associated savings (reduced re-incarceration costs) ranging from $8,700 to $9,700. 

While the results of the meta-analysis established an evidence base demonstrating benefits of correctional education, researchers could not determine from the evidence which educational programs performed the best. According to RAND, more research is needed to better understand what program components, such as curriculum, dosage, or quality, make them effective.

Please visit the federal interagency Reentry Council website, to learn more about the efforts of the 20 federal agency members working collaboratively on reentry issues across the nation.

Secretary Duncan Commemorates the March on Washington

Last week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the historic civil rights march of Aug. 28, 1963, at which the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., made his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Reflecting on this historic event, Secretary Duncan emphasized the “great strides in the two generations since the March,” and he gave equal emphasis to the “significant work that still needs to be done to ensure that all of our nation’s students have equal opportunities.” Just as in the 1960s, when Congress passed the initial Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Duncan noted that it is still true that “education is fundamental to the development of individual citizens and the progress of the nation” and that “there is a continuing need to ensure equal access for all Americans to educational opportunities of a high quality, and such educational opportunities should not be denied because of race, creed, color, national origin, or sex …”

He elaborated on the distance yet to be traveled by recognizing that “[i]n today’s world, freedom means having real opportunities – the kinds of opportunities that come only with a great education,” calling education “the civil rights issue of our time.” “Civil rights is more than just the absence of chains. It is more than the power to vote. Civil rights means having the same opportunities that other people do …” With a world-class education come the opportunities that will enable men and women to support themselves and their families, to influence their futures, and to participate in their self-governance.

“If you can ride at the front of the bus, but you cannot read, you are not free.” Likewise, if your achievement in school does not afford the opportunity for a job that lifts you and your family out of poverty, or if your skills do not make you competitive for the better jobs in our global, knowledge-based economy, “you are not free,” the secretary said. He added that “to have a path to the middle class, you’re probably going to need a college degree or at least an advanced certificate after high school.” Based on these qualifications, too many of our young people are “left on the sidelines,” and too many of those left on the sidelines are “black, brown, and poor.”

As the secretary concluded his remarks, he emphasized the need to speak out on behalf of the goal of a world-class education for all of America’s students. You can read the secretary’s complete remarks HERE

Health Insurance Marketplace: Help Spread the Word

Does your organization or business reach consumers who may need health coverage? If so, you can help millions of uninsured Americans take advantage of the new, online Health Insurance Marketplace by helping them learn about it and get enrolled in the new benefits. Starting in October 2013, Americans who don't have insurance can choose from quality, affordable health insurance plans in the Marketplace for coverage that begins in 2014. Open Enrollment begins October 1 and ends March 31, 2014. Consumer information websites are at www.HealthCare.gov and, in Spanish, at www.CuidadodeSalud.gov  

To serve your constituents by helping them get the coverage they need, consider becoming a Champion for Coverage. Go to http://marketplace.cms.gov/help-us/partner-with-us.html to find out how.