Essay on Recidivism: Prison and Correctional Education

Words: 1814
Pages: 8


As a result of tough on crime policies and the subsequent war on drugs, the number of individuals involved with criminal justice system continues to rise at alarming rates. Since 1980, the incarceration rate has tripled. 1 in 20 Americans will spend time in prison during their lifespan. The numbers speaks for themselves. Currently there are an estimated 2 million people in U.S. federal and state prisons. Given the unprecedented rise of individuals now involved with the American criminal justice system and the soaring rates or recidivism, there is a great need for systemic changes to address the issues confronting the ex-offender populations in this country.


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A literature review of the academic characteristics of incarcerated African American men and the academic correctional education programs serving them was conducted. The outcomes of the review indicated incarcerated male's function in the low-average to below-average range of intelligence, perform academically between fifth- and ninth-grade levels, and have histories of high rates of academic failure and grade retention. The predominant feature of correctional education academic programs serving these males is a broad continuum of curricular offerings, ranging from elementary school to postsecondary school levels. However, the availability of special education services for males varies from state to state. Effective instructional strategies for incarcerated males appear to be direct instruction and tutoring-based approaches. Implications of the findings for program development are discussed.
FROM 1988 TO 1997, A 56% INCREASE in the number of African American Males ordered to residential placement was observed in the United States. Of the nearly 105,000 ex-offenders held in public and private detention, correctional, and shelter facilities, more than three quarters (86.5%) are men from ethnic minority backgrounds (40% African American; 18.5% Hispanic) (Gallagher, 1999).