Friday, February 28, 2014

The mis-education of our prison population

  • Fact: United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world.
  • Fact: United States has 25% of the world’s prison population
  • Fact: Recidivism is extremely high and prison has become a revolving door
  • Fact: There is very little ‘correction’ in correctional facilities, and few opportunities to improve yourself

Knowing this, why are we afraid of trying something different such as what this next article is about?

“Prison U.”

“New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to bring professors back into prisons 20 years after Congress and one of his predecessors cut funding for inmate higher education.”

“Congress and the Clinton administration ended Pell Grant funding for prisoners in 1994, effectively cutting off funds for most college education in prisons. New York followed suit a year later and made sure its inmates couldn’t get funding from the state’s Tuition Assistance Program either.”  

“Now, Cuomo has proposed a plan -- drawing fire from many -- that he says will save money by giving prisoners a better chance to find jobs and stay out of trouble once they are released.”

“The federal and state moves in the 1990s left many prisons without any higher education offerings, except for relatively small programs offered by private groups. Cuomo's plan is an unusual effort by a powerful politician to put real money into college programs behind bars.”

“"We’re imprisoning. We’re isolating. But we’re not rehabilitating the way we should,” Cuomo said this month when he announced the plan to a church gathering of the state’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus. “We’re not correcting the way we should. We’re not improving the way we should.””

“The governor wants to better-prepare prisoners for life after jail and cut New York’s recidivism rate of 40 percent, which is still below the national average.”

What is wrong with trying to prevent people going back to jail for the same reasons? What is wrong with true rehabilitation?

Is this the correct solution? I do not know, however, we cannot be afraid and simply reject the conversation out of hand.

Education does not hurt anybody.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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