Educating Utah prison inmates pays off, study says

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  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    July 24, 2013 9:56 a.m.

    I've always been amazed at the negativity frequently expressed at educational and training programs in prison, usually along the lines of "I can't get that education for free, so why should they?". The reality is that education is one of the best ways to reduce recidivism and help offenders to rejoin society as productive members when they're released. Since we don't want people coming out of prison worse than when they went in, and we don't want them coming out just the way they were when they went in, it follows logically that we should provide the means for self-improvement so they can stay out of prison and make the community a better place. It costs far less to educate someone than to incarcerate him, so this makes good financial sense as well.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 22, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    It would be interesting to see a study into why this works.

    I have heard that often the criminals or repeat offenders are that way because they just don't know how to be self disciplined enough to hold down a job. Are the ex-cons becoming productive members of society because of the trade skills they learn or is it because they have learned life skills that make employment workable for them?

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 22, 2013 9:49 a.m.

    Let me as some rag on our schools.

    Well at prison, these inmates (students) actually attend class (they are a captive audience pardon the pun) and are highly motivated and even their parents can't make excuses for them for non-attendance, not doing their work, nor can they blame the teacher etc. If only our public teachers had this sort of support and motivation by the students...

  • raybies Layton, UT
    July 22, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    hutterite: Not everyone believes that the prison system exists for the sake of punishment. It is a punishment by its nature, but many see its intent is to rehabilitate and perhaps provide a form of social restitution.

    This program seems inline entirely with that viewpoint.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    July 22, 2013 9:30 a.m.

    Now I know why Sen. Aaron Osmond is trying to end compulsory education---so they can get their education at a later age in prison.

  • andrejules Champaign, IL
    July 22, 2013 7:32 a.m.

    For over 30 years I worked managing employment and training programs. Many of those years I sat on an Illinois Work release center lay board giving advice. Every youth inmate I spoke with was a high school dropout. In todays world, almost no employer will hire a dropout. The best help we gave them was to insist that every young inmate attend a GED class my agency paid for through our local community college. The better education we can give our prison inmates, the more likely they will be able to secure a job and NOT return to the penal system.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    July 22, 2013 7:19 a.m.

    The average time incarcerated is 2-3 years. The lock them up and throw away the key mentality just makes prison a revolving door. Punishment alone just makes criminals worse when they leave than when the first entered the system. You can't take away hope from people and expect anything positive to happen.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 22, 2013 12:23 a.m.

    Great reason not to move the Prison.

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    July 21, 2013 11:20 p.m.

    Re DN Subscriber

    The public education system is designed to be a babysitting tool for large families here. And you are correct, they are indoctrinated with the often useless nonsense that has replaced "Reading, writing, and arithmetic", it's sometimes referred to as "seminary." The Utah legislature doesn't want an educated populace. One of them even wants to make school optional.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 21, 2013 9:45 p.m.

    Ironic, we consider education part of the 'pumnishment' of imprisonment. After all that's our goal, right? That criminals be punished? Yet here we see rehabilitation as an unintended consequence. I wonder what would happen if we decided to punish people with education at an earlier age?

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 21, 2013 7:33 p.m.

    We spend millions and millions on education in this state. Why are young me (and women) not getting a thorough education from the public schools instead of waiting until they end up in prison.

    With the number of freshmen entering college needing remedial education, this sort of repeats the same question. Is our K-12 education system really doing its job educating students, or just wasting money to have people check off "seat time" while they are indoctrinated with the often useless nonsense that has replaced "Reading, writing and arithmetic" and useful job skills in the politically correct classrooms?

  • Arm of Orion Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 21, 2013 7:28 p.m.

    I have long been an advocate that prisoners should be given more education if the crimes are not things like capital murder and multiple and repeated sexual abuse on both adults and children. Let's hope the program gets a boost in funding!