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Should Prisoners Have Education?

Dear, Editor 

President Obama pointed the country in the right direction last year by creating a pilot program that will allow a limited number of inmates to receive federal Pell Grants to take college courses behind bars.  There are so many ways to prepare these people for a life after prison, if you just give them a chance.  Prisoners should get an education because of their afterlife, to make them smarter, to be taught right.

According to the article “ Should Prisoner Be Given the Opportunity to Get an Education?”, States are finally backing away from the draconian sentencing policies that swept the country at the end of the last century, driving up prison costs and sending too many people to jail for too long, often for nonviolent offenses. Many are now trying to turn around the prison juggernaut by steering drug addicts into treatment instead of jail and retooling parole systems that once sent people back to prison for technical violations.But the most effective way to keep people out of prison once they leave is to give them jobs skills that make them marketable employees. That, in turn, means restarting prison education programs that were shuttered beginning in the 1990s, when federal and state legislators cut funding to show how tough they were on crime.

While many people think that prisoners should not get an education, I find it that prisoners  should get an education.  Loretta Taylor in her article, “Prison education is a smart investment, reduces crime”, Ninety-seven percent of Washington prisoners will be released and will reside in our neighborhoods. What we need to ask is: “Do we want these prisoners to succeed when they return to our communities?” The thoughtful answer is “yes” — we want and expect released prisoners to become law-abiding, taxpaying, contributing members of our communities. That will not happen without interventions that address the issues that contributed to their poor decisions. Education is a cost-effective intervention that puts prisoners on a different path that generates hope and employability.The cost to incarcerate an adult in Washington is approximately $35,000 per year. The cost to provide education in prisons is approximately $2,500 per year. In a major national study, the RAND Corporation found that prisoners who become educated are 43 percent less likely to return to prison and that for every $1 spent on education, $5 is saved in reduced re-incarceration costs. Reducing recidivism means we are reducing crime in Washington.

The state Department of Corrections contracts with community colleges to provide basic education and job training at each of the state’s 12 adult prisons. Due to legislative restrictions, the only postsecondary academic programs delivered in prison are funded with private grants.Most students who enroll in our program begin to see themselves as college students, capable of something better for themselves and they realize a much different future involving work, education and caring for their families. They begin to see themselves as students.

As you can see, This situation is very important because if they have no education they can’t grow as a person, they will just come back every time for doing the same thing.   Prisoners should get an education because of their afterlife, to make them smarter, to be taught right. So let the Prisoners have a chance at a better life.

Thank you

Sincerely,

McKenzie






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