Providing Free College Education to Prisoners

The main purpose of the criminal justice system is not only to keep criminals off the streets so that society will stay safe, but also to rehabilitate criminals which will guarantee the public safety. There is a close relation with poverty, illiteracy, and crime. Typical rehabilitation policy, like providing free college education to prisoners, plays a vital role in reduction the crime rates and development of peaceful society.

Illiteracy is the biggest threat to law and enforcement in the U.S. More than 60 percent of all prisoners in the U.S. are illiterate. Almost 85 percent of the juveniles, who are facing trials in the juvenile court, are practically illiterate. Nearly two-thirds of students who fail to pursue their education higher than 4th grade end up in jail or welfare, which proves a close relationship between crime and illiteracy.

According to the Bard Prison Initiative, the main purpose of college-in-prison program is to provide prisoners with an opportunity to improve their lives which they did not have previously. A college degree can offer them more job opportunities, which will lead to a stable income and lifestyle, which in turn restrains criminal behavior in most of them as there is more to live for. As claimed by Jake Cronin, policy analyst of University of Missouri, prisoners, who have a college degree through prison-based education programs, were  33 percent less likely to return to prison.

A large opposition group to college-in-prison programs claims that it is unfair to provide free education facility for criminals while innocent, hard-working citizens are not receiving the same benefits. They also protest against such programs by arguing that tax payer, law-abiding, common citizens’ money should not be invested in such policies. However, the research has shown that college courses in prison have actually saved taxpayers money. An American research found out that $1 million was spent on educational programs of prisoners and it prevents almost 600 crimes, while the same amount of money invested in incarceration may prevent only 350 crimes. Considering $40,000 annual expenditure on each prisoner and lower rate of recidivism among the prisoners who received an education in prison, free educational programs are almost twice as cost-effective as crime control policies.

In conclusion, rehabilitation of criminals is not a simple process and is not always suitable for every inmate, however, by promoting innovating programs, like free college education, it can have positive results in the future. Many researches and studies have proved that providing free education to prisoners in a revolutionary and convincing step to control crime rates in the society. Therefore, it should be encouraged.

About the Author

Luna Griffin is a specialist in English literature at the Orlando University and longtime work as a writer at – essay writing services that provide all students with any types of written assignments in all disciplines. She always wanted to become a writer and publish a book that will become a new contribution to the literature. She started career as an English Tutor after which she started to show interest in child psychology research. She is currently working on a variety of topics related to studying the state of modern education.

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