Prison Education Essay

Words: 4545
Pages: 19

Proceedings of The National Conference On Undergraduate Research (NCUR) 2009 University of Wisconsin La-Crosse La-Crosse, Wisconsin April 16 - 18, 2009

Prison Culture, Education, and Recidivism Rates
Caleb L. Fry and Lauren T. Rios Department of Anthropology Lake Tahoe Community College One College Drive South Lake Tahoe, California 96150 USA Faculty Advisor: Daryl G. Frazetti Abstract
Given the number of inmates in the prison system and the high level of recidivism, it is important to seek out possible solutions to this growing problem. By implementing more educationally and vocationally oriented programs it is possible that current recidivism rates can be reduced, thereby offering some relief for existing overcrowding conditions.
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Therefore, it is important to identify how recidivism is related to a plethora of social problems.

3. Recidivism and Society
At all levels of the correctional system in the United State a vicious cycle continues. It is the cycle of rising crime rates, rising recidivism, and the tremendous consequential costs. Despite well-intended attempts, we have not yet seen any real effective means for preventing criminal actions, increasing inmate success in correctional programs, or decreasing the rates at which former inmates are returning to the correctional system. On a national level, 95% of those incarcerated today will be released3, 60% of whom will recidivate4. Free society faces the burden of accounting for average annual cost associated with the operating of correctional facilities, as well as the costs of construction of new facilities. The mean annual costs of housing an inmate is $45,0005, and new facility construction averages $140,000 per bed.6: • • • • • • Few inmate resources upon release Economic stress to federal, state, and local governments Impact on social programs when funding is funneled to criminal justice needs Increased delinquency by children of inmates Greater impact of the prison environment on juveniles Greater reintegration difficulties for juveniles

As Steve Parker, Inmates Officer at the South Lake Tahoe, California jail states, “Inmates leave