Topic: Prison Education and Vocational Programs
Thread: You are assigned as a Prison Administrator (Warden/Superintendent) and are tasked to design an education and vocation department for your facility. You can decide if it is a male or female facility. Your resources are unlimited. What courses or vocational trades would you include in your curriculum? Why?
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1. Shorter- Prison-based programs, including educational and vocational programs, can be implemented that assist the inmates’ capabilities to act like productive members of their families upon being released. For instance, these programs can mitigate addiction and enhance literacy, allowing for improved upon skills, which also has the potential to lower recidivism rates. Prison-based educational and vocational programs that increase parenting skills, for example, through regular contact with family members can not only be beneficial to the inmate, but also to the prison system in lowering recidivism rates.
The primary goal of the vocational and educational programs offered by the facility will be based in rehabilitation and preventing recidivism. This includes offering a GED preparation course, as well as an academic program that correlates with the curriculum of the local community college in the area. In addition to that, there will be vocational programs, specifically a Work Release Program, as well as an apprenticeship program to allow federal offenders to learn a trade upon release.
In regard to educational programs, as previously noted, a GED program is the most important aspect to be incorporated. Bozick, et al. (2018) noted in a meta-analysis on the effects of GED programs and similar educational programs that inmates “were 28% less likely to recidivate when compared with inmates who did not participate in correctional education programs” (p. 389). Along with a GED program, incentives to complete college courses through local and federal grants can also be recommended, as Papaioannou, et al. (2018) note that college programs are a promising way to help reduce recidivism among former inmates. It could also be useful to include educational programs that teach skills that improve social abilities, such as anger management, parenting, or similar.
Regarding vocational efforts, the Work Release Program will allow the inmates to gain meaningful employment within the private sector while still being in the prison center. This is part of the prison programs’ design of reintegration. Along with that, the apprenticeship program will help give meaning and purpose to many of the inmates. It will also give them the opportunity to seek out meaningful employment so that they can be productive and constructive members of society. They may also be able to reconnect or reestablish their family due to the potentially increased stability that employment can bring. Some examples of the types of apprenticeship programs that could be developed include electrician work, welding, plumbing, or similar (Anyanwu, et al., 2018).
Anyanwu, J. I., Onyechi, K. C., Adikwu, V., Ezegbe, B. N., & Otu, M. S. (2018). Influence of vocational education on Prison Inmates’ interest in vocational activities in Enugu State, Nigeria. International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, 13(21), 15310-15316.
Bozick, R., Steele, J., Davis, L., & Turner, S. (2018). Does providing inmates with education improve postrelease outcomes? A meta-analysis of correctional education programs in the United States. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 14(3), 389-428.
Papaioannou, V., Anagnou, E., & Vergidis, D. (2018). Adult Inmates’ Motivation for Participation in Educational Programs in Greece. International Education Studies, 11(6), 132-144
2. Landry- A strong education and vocation department is crucial to the reduction of recidivation in any prison. Educational and vocational skills give inmates the confidence they need to pursue a job after prison and gives them the training they need to be successful in a job of their choosing. In addition, educational and vocational training reduces recidivism because it helps offenders findinterests they are passionate about, and that in turn can give them a new direction and motivation in their life(Harding, 2014).
I would choose to have a female facility. Because educational and vocation trades in the prison system wereoriginally designed for men, I would argue that having a facility with education and vocations centered around women’s needs would be most beneficial. The fastest growing population in prisons are women, and I believe that it is crucial to develop education and vocation programs centered on their specific needs (Saxena, 2014)
If resources were unlimited, I would have a vast selection of vocational and educational programs in my prison. I would try to have something for everyone’sneeds. I would definitely implement a GED program. Offenders who participate in GED programs will have more direction in their lives. In addition, they will also learn new skills and gain confidence. In addition to GED programs, I would also have a variety of classes that offenders can choose from to help them explore new interests and skills. Finance classes, cooking classes, and science classes will be very useful for offenders who do not know what field they would want to pursue once they are released.
Higher level educational classes will also be provided for those who wish to participate. I would have a variety of options to choose from to provide the offenders with the most personalized experience possible. Tutors and writing centers will be available to help those who are new to school, get back on their feet. In addition, those who do exceedingly well in their studies will be afforded the opportunity to attend classes off campus. This will incentivize education and reward good grades and behavior.
If I did not have a budget, I would also include a variety of trades to choose from. Higher education is not for everyone, and I would like to cater to those who wishto work with their hands. Plumbing school, electrician school, mechanic school, and a variety of other trades will be available. In addition, those who perform well and behave well will be afforded the opportunity to apprentice off-site so they may get real world experience.
In order to get the most out of vocational and educational programs, a variety of programs should be available, so every type of learner and every type of interest is met.
Saxena P, Messina NP, Grella CE. Who Benefits FromGender-Responsive Treatment?: Accounting for Abuse History on Longitudinal Outcomes for Women in Prison. Criminal Justice and Behavior. 2014;41(4):417-432
Harding R. (2014)Rehabilitation and prison social climate: Do ‘What Works’ rehabilitation programs work better in prisons that have a positive social climate? Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology