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Education From the Inside Out the Multiple Benefits of College Programs in Prison Corr Assoc of Ny 2009

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EDUCATION FROM THE
INSIDE, OUT:
THE MULTIPLE BENEFITS OF COLLEGE
PROGRAMS IN PRISON

A Report by the Correctional Association of New York
January 2009

Education from the Inside, Out
Founded in 1844, The Correctional Association of New York is a nonprofit policy
analysis, research, and advocacy organization that focuses on criminal justice issues. It is
the only independent organization in New York State with legislative authority to inspect
conditions in state prisons and report its findings to policymakers and the public.
The Correctional Association’s Public Policy Project develops proposals for
practical and meaningful reform on critical issues such as conditions of confinement
inside prisons and policies affecting the use of prisons. The Project’s key purpose is to
educate the press, policymakers, and the public regarding ways to make the criminal
justice system more, fair, efficient, and humane.

Copyright © 2009, The Correctional Association of New York
All Rights Reserved
The Correctional Association of New York
2090 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard
Suite 200
New York, NY 10027
(212) 254-5700/Phone
(212) 473-2807/Fax

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS __________________________________________________________i
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY _________________________________________________________ ii
INTRODUCTION ________________________________________________________________ 1
POST-SECONDARY CORRECTIONAL EDUCATION ________________________________ 2
Research and Studies _____________________________________________________________________2
Technical Trade or Academic Education ______________________________________________________4

THE MULTIPLE BENEFITS OF COLLEGE PROGRAMS IN PRISON __________________ 4
Reduced Recidivism ______________________________________________________________________5
Opportunities for Employment _________________________________________________________5
Improved Cognitive Skills _____________________________________________________________7
A Safe and Manageable Prison Environment ___________________________________________________8
A Cost-effective Method of Improving Public Safety ____________________________________________10

MODEL PROGRAMS IN NEW YORK AND THE UNITED STATES ___________________ 11
North Carolina and Correctional Education ___________________________________________________11
North Carolina Community College System ______________________________________________12
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: The Friday Center’s Correctional Education Program ___13
The Windham School District in Texas ______________________________________________________13
Bard Prison Initiative ____________________________________________________________________15
Consortium of the Niagara Frontier _________________________________________________________17
Bedford Hills College Program_____________________________________________________________18
Boston University Prison Education Program__________________________________________________19
College and Community Fellowship and The College Initiative ___________________________________20

SUMMING UP __________________________________________________________________ 21
RECOMMENDATIONS __________________________________________________________ 22
BIBLIOGRAPHY________________________________________________________________ 26
APPENDIX A: POST-SECONDARY CORRECTIONAL EDUCATION FACT SHEET

Education from the Inside, Out

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This report was an undertaking of the Correctional Association’s Public Policy Project.
Jackie Ross, a Project Associate with the Public Policy Project, was the principal author.
Robert Gangi, Executive Director of the Correctional Association, thoughtfully guided
the project from inception to completion. Caitlin Dunklee, Project Associate for the Public
Policy Project, Charisa A. Smith, Esquire, Director of the Juvenile Justice Project, and Sam
Streed, Development Associate, also contributed helpful editorial suggestions.
The Public Policy Project would like to thank Vivian Nixon, Executive Director of
College and Community Fellowship, and Glenn E. Martin, Vice President of Development and
Public Affairs at The Fortune Society, Inc., for sharing their intelligence about the issue and
valuable professional resources. Anna Crayton, of The Prisoner Re-entry Institute at John Jay
College, generously offered a wealth of personal knowledge whenever called upon and her
collection of studies on post-secondary correctional education were an important source of data.
We also wish to thank Linda Hollmen, Director of Education at the New York State Department of
Correctional Services, for providing us with hard-to-find departmental facts and figures. We are
also grateful to the prison administrators, staff, and students of The Bard Prison Initiative at
Eastern Correctional Facility for their hospitality during our visit and their insightful comments.
Finally, we wish to extend our deep appreciation to the current inmates, formerly
incarcerated people, criminal justice professionals, prison administrators, and college program
practitioners who agreed to be interviewed for this report. Their observations and experiences
were critical in shaping this paper and developing the Correctional Association’s policy
recommendations.

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Education from the Inside, Out
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
In September of 1994, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Violent Crime Control
and Law Enforcement Act which, among other “tough on crime” policies, prohibited awarding
Pell Grants to individuals incarcerated in federal or state correctional facilities. This provision
effectively left the responsibility to fund higher education programs in prison to the states.
In New York State, former Governor Mario Cuomo continued state funding for postsecondary correctional education through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), which awards
educational grants to low-income students. In 1995 however, the first year George Pataki took
office as governor, New York banned inmates from receiving TAP grants.1 Nationwide, nearly
all the 350 postsecondary correctional education (PSCE) programs closed2—only four out of 70
remained open in New York—despite the widely held view among correction officials and
experts in the field about the benefits of such programs.
The worth of in-prison college programs can be measured in several important ways,
each having value for the criminal justice system and the larger community. Studies and
conversations with formerly incarcerated people and program practitioners highlight the
principal benefits of college programs in prison: reduced recidivism because of the enhanced
problem-solving skills and greater opportunities for steady employment provided to inmates,
safer and more manageable prison conditions, and a cost-effective option for improving public
safety.
Statistical evidence from several highly regarded studies corroborates the Correctional
Association’s position that college programming in prison is a highly effective tool in reducing
recidivism. A 1991 study released by New York’s Department of Correctional Services found
that inmates who earned a degree while incarcerated had a 26.4 percent recidivism rate whereas
44.6 percent of participants who did not earn a degree were returned to custody.3 Another
influential study, published in 2004, Post-Secondary Correctional Education and Recidivism: A
Meta-Analysis of Research Conducted 1990-1999, found that “inmates who participated in PSCE

1

Correctional Association of New York & Justice Policy Institute. (1998). New York State of Mind?: Higher Education vs. Prison Funding in the
Empire State, 1988–1998. New York: Gangi, R., Schiraldi, V., Ziedenberg, J, 2.
Fine, M., Torre, M.E., Boudin, K., Bowen, I., Clark, J., Hylton, D., et al. (2001). Changing Minds: The Impact of College in a MaximumSecurity Prison. New York: The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, 6.
3
The DOCS 1991 report is available in hard copy from the Department, but has been scanned in full and posted online by the Prison Policy
Initiative. http://www.prisonpolicy.org/scans/inmate_college_program.shtml.
2

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Education from the Inside, Out
recidivated 22 percent of the time and those not participating in PSCE had a recidivism rate of 41
percent.”4
Interviews and observations from program participants and practitioners attest to the
importance of college programs in prison. The comments made by men and women who are
earning a living and building good lives back in their communities demonstrate the real value in
post-secondary correctional education programs. Christina Voight, a former participant in the
College Bound Program at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison for
women in Westchester, New York, said, “The people who got an education on the inside had the
same problems when released as those who didn’t. But those without college kept falling while
those who had an education got back up and kept going.”
Prison administrators, program practitioners, and incarcerated persons alike also recount
the positive effects of college programs in prison: providing an incentive for good behavior;
producing mature, well-spoken leadership who have a calming influence on other inmates and on
correction officers; and, reducing the tension and violent interactions between inmates and staff
and among inmates. Jamie Houston, Director of the Correctional Education Program at Indiana
State University and former Assistant Warden in the Indiana Department of Correction,
characterized inmates attending classes as the best-behaved population in a correctional facility,
crediting college programs with creating an incentive to avoid conduct that will be written up as
a disciplinary infraction.
In-prison college programs are also a cost-effective method of improving public safety.
The cost differences in education versus incarceration in New York, plus the short- and longterm benefits of a better educated population, makes investment in higher education for
incarcerated individuals and people in the community smart fiscal policy. One cost-benefit
analysis found that the cost to the state per crime prevented by offering education to inmates is
about $1,600; the cost per crime prevented by extending prison sentences is $2,800. In other
words, “A $1 million investment in incarceration will prevent about 350 crimes, while that same

4

Chapell, C.A. (2004). Post-Secondary Correctional Education and Recidivism: A Meta-Anlysis of Research Conducted 1990-1999. Journal of
Correctional Education, 55(2). Retrieved June 15, 2008, from New York University database, 157.

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Education from the Inside, Out
investment in education will prevent more than 600 crimes. Correctional education is almost
twice as cost effective as incarceration.”5
The Correctional Association selected six in-prison college programs in New York State
and across the United States to examine what seems to be working in post-secondary correctional
education:
•

In North Carolina, the Department of Correction has contracted with the University of
North Carolina to use the United States Department of Education “Youth Offender” grant
to fund all courses taught by UNC in correctional facilities.

Classes offered by

community colleges in correctional facilities are funded by the North Carolina
Legislature, which provides a high appropriation per each full-time student attending a
college within the statewide community college system and does not differentiate
between incarcerated and non-incarcerated students.
•

People incarcerated in Texas pursue post-secondary studies through the Windham School
District (WSD), a legally recognized entity that receives funding from the Texas
Department of Education. Inmates under the age of 25 and within five years of release
are eligible to receive financial aid for tuition and materials associated with postsecondary education classes from the “Youth Offender” grant. WSD uses the money to
cover the cost of the first three courses taken by eligible inmates. The fiscal year 2008
grant covered approximately 2,100 inmates.

•

Offering curriculum in line with a traditional liberal arts college program, the Bard Prison
Initiative offers classes to inmates in four New York correctional facilities identical to
those taught at Bard College at Annandale-on-Hudson. As of February 2009, Bard will
have conferred 70 Associate’s and 10 Bachelor’s degrees.

•

Established in 1975 at Attica Correctional Facility, the Consortium of the Niagara
Frontier is one of the oldest PSCE programs in New York State. Offering Associate’s

5
Bazos, A., & Hausman, J. (2004). Correctional Education as a Crime Control Program. University of California at Los Angeles School of
Public Policy and Social Research, Department of Policy Studies, 10.

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Education from the Inside, Out
and Bachelor’s degrees in Social Sciences or the Humanities, the Consortium consists of
Niagara University, Canisius College, and Daemen College.
•

The College Bound program at Bedford Hills was the subject of a well-known study,
Changing Minds: The Impact of College in a Maximum Security Prison. The study
included a quantitative analysis on the rate of recidivism of 274 inmates that had
participated in the college program and 2,031 female offenders released between 1985
and 1999. The study found that, 36 months after release, women in the college program
had a 7.7 percent return-to-custody rate while the non-participants had a 29 percent
return-to-custody rate.

•

The Prison Education Program offered by Boston University at Bay State Correctional
Facility, a medium-level security prison for men in Norfolk, Massachusetts, has conferred
284 Bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Studies in Interdisciplinary Studies since its inception
in 1972.

The Correctional Association also looked at College and Community Fellowship and The
College Initiative, two well-regarded programs in New York City providing guidance and
support to formerly incarcerated people about the college enrollment process. Many program
participants say these support services were critical to their success.

The report concludes with substantive recommendations for action by New York State
policymakers:
•

Restore and expand public funding for college programs in prison:

o Enact TAP Legislation that effectively lifts the ban on inmate eligibility for New
York’s Tuition Assistance Program grants and other public assistance grants for
higher education.
o Expand the use of “Youth Offender” grants in New York State correctional
facilities.
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Education from the Inside, Out

•

Require New York’s Board of Parole to consider steady participation in college
programs as a qualifying indicator for parole release.

•

Increase resources to programs that provide access to higher education
opportunities for formerly incarcerated people as a means of supporting successful
re-entry and community well-being.

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Education from the Inside, Out

INTRODUCTION
In September of 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law
Enforcement Act (VCCLA), also known as the Clinton Crime Bill, into law. Marked by socalled “tough on crime” policies as promoted by the president and Congress at that time, the new
law included an expansion of the federal death penalty and allocated $9.7 billion for prison
construction at the national and local levels.1 A critical provision of the bill was the amendment
to the Higher Education Act of 1965, which had sanctioned the use of federally funded postsecondary education grants, more commonly known as Pell Grants, for inmates. The VCCLA
prohibited the awarding of Pell Grants to individuals incarcerated in federal or state correctional
facilities, effectively leaving the responsibility to fund higher education programs in prison to the
states.
In New York, former Governor Mario Cuomo continued state funding for post-secondary
correctional education (PSCE) through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), which awards
educational grants to low-income students. The Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC),
the division of the state’s Department of Education which administers TAP grants, does not
require either individual applicants to specify if they are incarcerated or college administrators to
identify people as prisoners. The main criteria for TAP grants are based on income and whether
a person is single or married and has dependents. In fiscal year 1994-1995,2 HESC awarded
$631 million in grants to about 300,000 New York college students; approximately 3,000 of
those students, or one percent, were inmates receiving TAP grants between $1,750 and $2,000.3
In 1995 however, the first year George Pataki took office as governor, New York banned
inmates from receiving TAP grants.4 Nationwide, nearly all the 350 PSCE programs closed5—
only four out of 70 remained open in New York—despite the widely held view among correction
officials and experts in the field about the multiple benefits of such programs.

1

U.S. Department of Justice Fact Sheet, Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. http://www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles/billfs.txt.
New York State’s fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31.
Higher Education Service Corporation estimates that the savings resulting from banning inmates from TAP eligibility was between $5 and 6
million. Given that there were approximately 3,000 incarcerated students during FY 1994-1995, we can estimate that inmates received between
$1750 and $2000 in TAP grants.
4
Correctional Association of New York & Justice Policy Institute. (1998). New York State of Mind?: Higher Education vs. Prison Funding in the
Empire State, 1988–1998. New York: Gangi, R., Schiraldi, V., Ziedenberg, J, 2.
5
Fine, M., Torre, M.E., Boudin, K., Bowen, I., Clark, J., Hylton, D., et al. (2001). Changing Minds: The Impact of College in a MaximumSecurity Prison. New York: The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, 6.
2
3

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Education from the Inside, Out
The purpose of this paper, its findings, and subsequent recommendations is to provide
concrete rationales for policymakers, criminal justice professionals, interested journalists, and
concerned citizens as to why public funding for college programs in prisons should be restored.
Evidence from studies, produced by both government and private entities, and examples of
successful model programs in New York and other jurisdictions corroborate the Correctional
Association’s position that college programming in prison is a highly effective tool in reducing
recidivism and managing facilities safely.

POST-SECONDARY CORRECTIONAL EDUCATION
Research and Studies
PSCE is widely cited as having a direct and measureable impact on reducing the rate at
which people return to prison. In 1991, New York’s Department of Correctional Services
published Analysis of Return Rates of the Inmate College Program Participants, that tracked
men and women who had earned a degree in the Inmate College Program during the 1986-1987
academic year and found the rate of return for degree-earners to be significantly lower than that
of participants who did not earn a degree. Of those earning a degree, 26.4 percent had been
returned to the Department's custody, whereas 44.6 percent of participants who did not earn a
degree were returned to custody. Degree earning inmates also returned to prison at a lower rate
than would be expected when compared to the overall male return rate.

The Department

concluded, “These findings suggest that earning a college degree while incarcerated is positively
related to successful post-release adjustment as measured by return to the Department's
custody.”6
In 2001, The Correctional Education Association, a professional association for educators
and administrators providing services for students in correctional settings, released a report that
compared recidivism data across Ohio, Maryland, and Minnesota on 3,170 inmates released
between late 1997 and early 1998. One of the more comprehensive analyses conducted on the
subject, The Three State Recidivism Study found that the 1,373 inmates who had participated in
college programs while incarcerated had significantly lower re-arrest, re-conviction, and re-

6

State of New York Department of Correctional Services. (1991). Analysis of Return Rates of the Inmate College Program Participants. New
York: Clark, D.D., Executive Summary.

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Education from the Inside, Out
incarceration rates than non-participants.7 Another influential study, published in 2004, PostSecondary Correctional Education and Recidivism: A Meta-Analysis of Research Conducted
1990-1999, found that “inmates who participated in PSCE recidivated 22 percent of the time and
those not participating in PSCE had a recidivism rate of 41 percent.”8
PSCE programs are also valuable in improving conditions inside the facilities: prison
administrators, inmates, and correction officers all attest to the value of college programs
because they provide an incentive for good behavior, help inmates develop a sense of self-esteem
and responsibility, and produce a steady stream of mature leadership. Changing Minds: The
Impact of College in a Maximum Security Prison, a study and narrative released in September
2001 of the college program experience at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum
security women’s prison in Westchester, New York, included accounts from several correction
officers citing fewer fights and better communication between inmates and officers as one of the
program’s positive results. A paper published by the Correctional Association in 1998 had
similar findings—college programs help maintain a calmer, more manageable environment in
prison.9
A paper by Dr. Michelle Fine, Evidence Based Analysis of Two Criminal Justice Policies
Designed to Reduce Risk, Increase Public Safety and Lower Reincarceration Rates, presented in
2007 to the New York State Commission on Sentencing Reform, also found extremely strong
evidence of the positive impact of in-prison college programs. Dr. Fine includes four findings in
her testimony on the benefits of college in prison: reincarceration rates are reduced; there are
considerable government savings due to fewer recommitments and the reduction in the
associated costs of incarcerating people; prisons are more peaceful and disciplined; and, the
children of prisoners participating in in-prison college programs are encouraged to pursue
education more seriously.10

7

Correctional Education Association. (2001). Three State Recidivism Study. Lanham, Maryland: Steurer, S. J., Smith, L., & Tracy, L., 39.
Chapell, C.A. (2004). Post-Secondary Correctional Education and Recidivism: A Meta-Anlysis of Research Conducted 1990-1999. Journal of
Correctional Education, 55(2). Retrieved June 15, 2008, from New York University database, 157.
9
Correctional Association of New York. (1999). Plan for Restoring College Programs to New York State Prisons, 1.
10
New York State Commission on Sentencing Reform. (2007). Evidence Based Analysis of Two Criminal Justice Policies Designed to Reduce
Risk, Increase Public Safety and Lower Reincarceration Rates. The Graduate Center City University of New York: Fine, M., 3-4.
8

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Education from the Inside, Out
Technical Trade or Academic Education
For the purposes of this paper, technical trade (also known as vocational) and academic
programs are treated as separate types of education programs, with most of the paper examining
the benefits of post-secondary education. Practitioners and researchers debate the value of
technical training versus traditional academic learning inside prison; some question the merits of
teaching specialized skills to inmates, saying that the purpose of education should be to broaden
minds about the wide range of professional careers available, not just to provide training for
particular jobs. This argument may miss one of the main premises of PSCE programs: to
improve a person’s chances of staying out of prison by equipping him or her with the necessary
skills to find, maintain, and be successful at work. In her 2008 paper, Structure and Components
of Successful Educational Programs, Doris MacKenzie writes, “Systematic reviews and metaanalyses of vocational education programs indicate that these programs are successful in
reducing the later criminal activities of participants.”11 Technical training has a proven impact in
reducing recidivism and should be placed on an equal level as academic education. Allowing
individual prisoners to choose a path best suited to him or her increases the chance of success
during incarceration and post-release.

THE MULTIPLE BENEFITS OF COLLEGE PROGRAMS IN PRISON
The benefits of PSCE programs can be measured in several important ways, each having
value for the criminal justice system and the larger community. Whether we take the perspective
that PSCE is worthwhile because education reduces recidivism rates and college programs in
prison create a calmer environment, or, that dollar for dollar, education is a more cost-effective
crime fighting strategy than re-incarceration and longer sentences, college programs for inmates
and the continuation of studies for formerly incarcerated people have indisputable merits for all
concerned parties.

11

MacKenzie, D.L. (2008). Structure and Components of Successful Educational Programs. New York: The Prisoner Re-Entry Institute,
11.

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Education from the Inside, Out
Reduced Recidivism
Successfully reintegrating into the community is often the most challenging task for
formerly incarcerated men and women with few resources or support systems to depend on.
College credits and/or a degree function as a “lifeline” through the daily difficulties and setbacks people with a criminal history often confront and must overcome to avoid returning to
prison.
Opportunities for Employment
A college education has become one of the most valuable assets in the US—it is now
estimated that a Bachelor’s degree is worth more than $1 million in lifetime earnings.12 A
person with a high school diploma or GED can expect to earn an average annual income of
$29,600,13 only just above the poverty line ($26,138 yearly average income for a family of
four14) and hardly enough to support one person. The average annual income for a person who
did not graduate from high-school or obtain a GED is $19,915.15 Not having an advanced degree
greatly diminishes people’s capacity to earn a living wage, often forcing them to take two or
three meaningless jobs to support themselves and their families. In many cases, particularly in
economically depressed areas, people may turn to criminal activity simply as a means to survive.
Earning a degree or college credits while in prison can make a significant difference for
formerly incarcerated men and women once they return to their communities and search for
employment. At Bedford Hills Correctional Facility (BHCF), former inmate Christina Voight
earned an Associate’s degree and began her Bachelor’s degree program. “The people who got an
education on the inside had the same problems when released as those who didn’t,” she says
now, “but those without college kept falling while those who had an education got back up and
kept going.” Ms. Voight is currently an Open Society Institute Fellow and working on her Ph.D.
in sociology.

12

The Institute for Higher Education Policy. (2004). Investing in America’s Future: Why Student Aid Pays Off for Society and Individuals.
Washington, D.C.: Cunningham, A., 1.
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2008). The Condition of Education 2008 (NCES 2008–031), Indicator
20.
14
Buckley, C. (2008, July 14.) City Refines Formula to Measure Poverty Rate. The New York Times.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/14/nyregion/14poverty.html?scp=4&sq=povertypercent20line&st=cse.
15
United States Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau. (2007). Income, Earnings, and Poverty
Data From the 2006 American Community Survey (American Community Survey Reports, ACS-08). Washington, D.C.: Webster, B. H., Jr., &
Bishaw, A., 16.
13

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Education from the Inside, Out
Cheryl Wilkins is an academic counselor for The College Initiative at Lehman College
and a former member of the inmate committee at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility that helped
reinstate the college program in that prison. Referring to formerly incarcerated men and women
released from prison without having earned credits or a college degree, Ms. Wilkins says that,
“Coming out of prison with a degree is no comparison to transitioning back into the community
without one. No comparison.”
Aileen Baumgartner, director of the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility College Bound
Program, says PSCE helps ex-offenders during their employment search, as they are better able
to fill out an application and write a cover letter and resume. Furthermore, success in an
academically rigorous environment provides a measure of accomplishment that carries over into
employment.

Selina Fulford, a formerly incarcerated woman currently pursing her second

Masters degree, echoes Ms. Baumgartner’s view that higher education is crucial for obtaining a
good job and being successful enough to professionally advance.

Ms. Fulford has been

promoted three times, starting out as a Residential Aid at a homeless shelter and working her
way up to Ombudsman, a position that requires a Masters degree. She credits her progress to her
academic achievements, saying that, “Education gives you power to do good things.”
When back in their communities, formerly incarcerated people are at a dual disadvantage:
they are chronically undereducated, which limits employment options, and are stigmatized as exoffenders when filling out applications. Exposure to post-secondary education helps break the
cycle of unemployment and incarceration. The Investment Payoff, a 2005 study released by the
Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), a nonprofit organization advocating for increased
access and greater success in postsecondary education, found that, “Individuals with a Bachelor’s
degree reported lower levels of unemployment than individuals with a high school diploma.”16
As Ms. Voight, the BHCF College Bound graduate, explained: “A degree signals to potential
employers that a person is responsible and hard-working.”
Research and experience demonstrate that inmates who participate in higher education
programs have a much better chance of remaining crime-free upon release. Considering that in
New York, transitional services for inmates are generally inadequate and often amount to little

16

The Institute for Higher Education Policy. (2005). The Investment Payoff: A 50-State Analysis of the Public and Private Benefits of Higher
Education. Washington, D.C.: Cunningham, A., Krichels, S., Merisotis, J., Daulton, C.R., Clinedinst, M., Hardge, L., 9.

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Education from the Inside, Out
more than a ride to the bus stop and $40, a degree can provide the crucial support that re-entry
services in the state are mostly lacking.
Improved Cognitive Skills
Post-secondary education emphasizes learning how to rationally argue based on reason
and logic and, in turn, the value of considering alternative opinions and points of view. The
demands of college classes and the rewarding experience of academic success combined with
schooling in a formal setting are considered critical for developing the ability to use and process
information.17

Higher education improves cognitive functions by helping to diminish the

antisocial attitudes and behaviors associated with criminal activity.18
PSCE practitioners provide numerous anecdotes that demonstrate success in changing the
antisocial behaviors of program participants.

Aileen Baumgartner from the Bedford Hills

program describes women offering positive support for each other in class and encouraging
younger inmates to enroll in the college program.

Ms. Baumgartner’s experiences are echoed

by Jamie Houston, a former assistant warden in the Indiana State Department of Corrections who
recently began running the Indiana State University Correctional Education Program.

Mr.

Houston regularly sees inmates enrolled in college classes tutor new students, contributing to a
positive atmosphere in an otherwise harsh setting.
A common thread running through the stories and experiences of practitioners and
college program participants is how earning college credits and, in particular, a degree while
incarcerated can have a significant psychological impact. Many people interviewed for this
report described an increase in their sense of “self-efficacy,” the knowledge that they have the
ability to shape and steer their lives in a meaningful way. As a professor at the Bedford Hills
College Program, Aileen Baumgartner observes the change in women over the course of a
semester as they become more aware of their own capabilities. Earning college credits connects
hard work and determination to measureable success. A woman named Barbara who was
interviewed for the Changing Minds study said, “Being in college taught me about perseverance,
I learned I can do what I put my mind to […] I didn’t know that before college.”19 Succeeding at

17

See Mackenzie (2008), 3
For a more comprehensive treatment of the impact education has on the cognitive skills of inmates, see MacKenzie (2008), Structure and
Components of Successful Educational Programs, 3.
19
See Fine et al. (2001), 10
18

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Education from the Inside, Out
college in an adverse environment is evidence of strength, intelligence, and dedication, qualities
critical to succeeding on the outside.
A Safe and Manageable Prison Environment
Educating inmates and improving their cognitive skills produce benefits even before they
are released. Practitioners interviewed often reported a behavioral sea change in inmates who
took college courses. Dr. Robert Cadigan, director of the Boston University Prison Education
Program that holds college courses at two Massachusetts state correctional facilities, sees
disciplinary infractions go down among his students during the course of a semester. Aileen
Baumgartner also described how inmates will self-police, or reprimand other inmates in class if
they “act up,” out of fear of losing the program permanently. Jamie Houston from Indiana
characterized inmates attending classes as the best-behaved population in a correctional facility,
crediting college programs with creating an incentive to avoid conduct that will be written up as
a disciplinary infraction. Changes in behavior can be attributed to improved cognitive capacity
as well as to the incarcerated person having the opportunity to feel human again by engaging in
an activity as commonplace as going to classes.
Incarceration is frequently a dehumanizing and alienating experience: verbal and physical
harassment and abuse are a daily occurrence at some facilities and can contribute to a violent
culture of social interaction between correction officers and inmates and among inmates.
Inmates often report being “treated like criminals” by prison staff, which serves to impart
feelings of hopelessness and a negative self-image.

College professors, on the other hand, as

reported by inmates and teachers alike, expect inmates to act as students and treat them
accordingly. Classroom protocol has a positive effect on inmates and on the expectations they
set for themselves regarding how and what they will do both in prison and upon release.
The presence of academic programs in a facility can have significant influence on the
entire population, even on prisoners not directly involved in PSCE. Robert Cadigan describes
this effect as a “rising tide lifting all boats.” Cheryl Wilkins reported how the entire culture of
Bedford Hills changed after the college program was reestablished. Instead of supporting the
system of mores, norms, and traditions that mandate avoidance of “self-improvement” programs

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Education from the Inside, Out
and discourage cooperation with correction officials, PSCE contravenes the adoption of this
counterproductive “prisoner code” by encouraging positive and thoughtful human interaction.20
The improved behavior of inmates participating in classes results in a substantially safer
environment within correctional facilities. In the study Changing Minds, researchers found that
college programs served as a “positive management tool” at Bedford Hills.21

An officer

interviewed for the report stated, “We don’t have to worry about stabbings, the fighting within
the facility. College gives them something else to occupy their time and […] their minds. The
more educated the women are, the better they can express themselves and the easier it is to
manage them.”22

College classes provide a tangible goal for inmates to focus on while

incarcerated. Serena Alfieri, a woman formerly incarcerated at Bedford Hills who took classes
through the college program, stated: “You can ignore all that bad stuff during the day if you
know at six o’clock p.m., you’re going to class.” Another inmate participating in the program
said, “When I first came to Bedford Hills, I was a chronic disciplinary problem, getting tickets
back to back. I had a very poor attitude as well, I was rude and obnoxious for no reason, I did
not care about anything or anyone. Then I became motivated to participate in a number of the
programs, one of which was college. I started to care about getting in trouble and became
conscious of the attitude I had that influenced my negative behaviors.”23
A consistent finding from the regular institutional monitoring visits conducted by the
Correctional Association’s Prison Visiting Project is relevant to this question. At the end of the
day of the visit, Correctional Association representatives meet with the facility’s superintendent
and his or her executive team and often ask them about possible measures to improve conditions
inside the prison. The prison officials have often recommended reinstating college programs
because of their multiple benign effects: providing an incentive for good behavior; producing
mature, well-spoken leadership who have a calming influence on other inmates and on correction
officers; and, communicating the message that society has sufficient respect for the human
potential of incarcerated people.

20
Peat, B.T. & Winfree, L.T., Jr. (1992). Reducing the Intra-Institutional Effects of "Prisonization." Criminal Justice and Behavior, 19(2).
Retrieved August 9, 2008, from New York University database, 209.
21
See Fine et al. (2001), 21.
22
Ibid, 21
23
Ibid, 21

9

Education from the Inside, Out
A Cost-effective Method of Improving Public Safety
A better educated population means a more productive population. An Institute for
Higher Education (IHEP) study, The Investment Payoff, advocates for increased investment in
higher education, stating: “Going to college has broad and quantifiable national impacts, from
higher salaries to improved health to increased volunteerism to a reduced reliance on welfare and
other social support programs.”24 The study reports that: “Nationally […] less than one-half
percent of those with a Bachelor’s degree received some form of public assistance in 2003.”25
Formerly incarcerated people are more likely than other groups to rely on public assistance
programs such as welfare and Medicaid, giving policymakers more incentive to direct public
funds to PSCE programs.
Another report by IHEP, Investing in America’s Future, found that focusing student aid
on low-income students maximizes the return on investment made into increasing access to
college. The study notes: “The failure to invest in college access for all students not only results
in diminished personal economic opportunities for low-income students but also weakens the
fabric of society and risks costing the nation more in the long-term.”26
New York has a history of lopsided spending on incarceration versus education: the
current average cost of incarcerating a person is $44,000 per year,27 while the State University of
New York annually spends $7,645 on instructional expenditures per full-time student.28 The cost
differences in education versus incarceration in New York, plus the short- and long-term benefits
of a better educated population, makes investment in higher education for incarcerated
individuals and people in the community smart fiscal policy.
Correctional Education as Crime Control, a study by the Department of Policy Studies at
the University of California at Los Angeles, sought to answer the question, “If a state has a
million dollars to invest in crime control, which method will prevent more crimes—educating
inmates or keeping them imprisoned longer?”29 The study used data from the previously cited
and comprehensive Three State Recidivism Study (see page 2), plus additional data on education

24

See The Institute for Higher Education Policy. (2005). The Investment Payoff, 3
Ibid, 11
See The Institute for Higher Education Policy (2004), 7.
27
See Legal Action Center. (2008). Drug Law Reform 2008–Dramatic Cost Savings for New York State, 6.
28
See State University of New York. (2007). SUNY Chancellor John Ryan's Testimony to Joint Legislative Hearing of the Senate Finance
Committee and Assembly Ways and Means Committee. http://www.suny.edu/sunyNews/News.cfm?filname=2007-0208RyanBudgetTestimony.htm..
29
Bazos, A., & Hausman, J. (2004). Correctional Education as a Crime Control Program. University of California at Los Angeles School of
Public Policy and Social Research, Department of Policy Studies, 8.
25
26

10

Education from the Inside, Out
costs and crime rates from the three states in the study—Maryland, Minnesota, and Ohio. The
report found that the cost to the state per crime prevented by offering education to inmates is
about $1,600; the cost per crime prevented by extending prison sentences is $2,800.30 Translated
into the terms of its guiding question, the study concluded, “A $1 million investment in
incarceration will prevent about 350 crimes, while that same investment in education will
prevent more than 600 crimes. Correctional education is almost twice as cost effective as
incarceration.”31
MODEL PROGRAMS IN NEW YORK AND THE UNITED STATES
Despite the termination of federally funded PSCE programs through Pell Grants in 1994,
several programs in different parts of the US remained in operation through the creative use of
other federal grants, state appropriations, and/or private funding.

Currently, thousands of

inmates in several states participate in successful state- and privately-funded PSCE programs.
The following section reviews programs that seem to improve the lives of people during
incarceration and post-release. While it is difficult to precisely assess college programs’
effectiveness if the recidivism rate of the participants has not been determined or if programs
have not been formally evaluated by an independent monitor, it is possible to judge a program’s
value on other bases, such as degrees conferred, cost to the state, and number of participants.
Below we present several examples, noteworthy for their efficient use of funds and/or high
academic standards. Those successful funding models should be of particular interest to New
York policymakers in light of the state’s current fiscal difficulties.
North Carolina and Correctional Education
North Carolina’s correctional education program is often cited as a model because of its
wide-ranging presence in correctional facilities (even after the elimination of Pell Grants), the
high rate of participation in programs, and its innovative funding methods.
In 2006, the average monthly enrollment in all academic programs offered by the
Division of Education Services within the North Carolina Department of Correction was 10,516
inmates out of a total population of 37,725.

30
31

Ibid, 9
Ibid, 10.

11

Several community colleges from the North

Education from the Inside, Out
Carolina Community College System, the University of North Carolina, and Shaw University, a
private liberal arts university in Raleigh, North Carolina, contract with the Department of
Correction’s Division of Education Services to offer all levels of academic and technical
programs in North Carolina correctional facilities.32
Two- and four-year college programs are less widely available than technical, ABE
(Adult Basic Education—basic reading, writing, and mathematic instruction for adult learners),
or GED courses; out of 78 correctional facilities, college credit courses are available in 25
institutions and of those, only 12 offer on-site instruction.33 Nevertheless, in the 2006-2007
academic year, the North Carolina Community College System and University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill awarded inmates 47 Associate’s and 39 Bachelor’s degrees.34 The following are
brief descriptions of each of the programs offered by the Division of Education Services.
North Carolina Community College System
Created in 1987 by legislative order, the North Carolina Interagency Partnership brings
together the North Carolina Department of Correction and the North Carolina State Board of
Community Colleges to oversee and maintain a comprehensive plan for the state’s inmate
population enrolled in technical trade and college programs, as well as GED and ABE courses.35
Community colleges have historically expanded access to education for non-traditional students
and underserved and/or low-income populations. Additionally, courses at community colleges
generally cost less than those offered at larger public or private institutions and provide wider
course options and scheduling flexibility, making them a particularly sound option for
correctional facilities.36 While the courses taught by the North Carolina Community College
System (CCS) are primarily trade-oriented, the system is able to provide academic and technical
programs at most correctional facilities in the state and some courses for college credits at a
limited number of facilities.

32
Shaw University is a private institution that also offers college classes to inmates in North Carolina but is not addressed in this paper due to the
limited information available.
33
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. (2007). Correctional Education. Retrieved August 8, 2008, from
http://www.fridaycenter.unc.edu/cp/correctional.htm.
34
North Carolina Department of Correction, Education Services. (2007). Education Services Annual Report, Calendar Year 2006.
http://www.doc.state.nc.us/dop/education/index.htm.
35
Contardao, J, & Tolbert, M. (2008). Prison Postsecondary Education: Bridging Learning from Incarceration to the Community. Available
from the Prisoner Reentry Institute website: http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/centersinstitutes/pri/publications.asp., 4.
36
Ibid, 4

12

Education from the Inside, Out
The North Carolina General Assembly provides a high appropriation per each full-time
student attending a college within the statewide community college system and does not
differentiate between incarcerated and non-incarcerated students—appropriations are the same
for both.
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: The Friday Center’s Correctional Education
Program
Persons incarcerated in North Carolina facilities may also apply for on-site or
correspondence classes offered through the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill.
As a top educational institution in the U.S., UNC-Chapel Hill offers inmates a unique
opportunity to earn college credits from an esteemed university and is strict in its enrollment and
academic performance requirements. Inmates enrolling in courses must meet specific academic
criteria prior to being accepted and must maintain a 2.0 grade point average throughout the
semester.
UNC courses are funded entirely by the U.S. Department of Education “Workplace and
Community Transition Training for Incarcerated Youth Offenders” grant, also known as the
“Youth Offender” grant, via the North Carolina Department of Correction. Using the $1,500
grant awarded per inmate 25 years of age and younger and within five years of release, in 2006,
UNC was able to offer 63 on-site post-secondary classes in 12 facilities37 (recent federal
legislation expanded eligibility criteria for the “Youth Offender” grant to include inmates under
the age of 35 and within seven years of release and increased the grant to $3,30038).
The Windham School District in Texas
A second distinctive example of PSCE programming is the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice’s (TDCJ) Windham School District (WSD). Recognizing the value education
has in a correctional setting, the TDCJ was the first government agency in the United States to
set up a statewide prison education system.

New Mexico currently provides post-secondary

education programming in all state correctional facilities, although the courses are offered
though the University of New Mexico via long distance learning using camera feeds from
37

J. Ross, personal communication, September 30, 2008.
United States House of Representatives. (2008). Sec/ 931. Repeals. (House Report 110-803–Higher Education Opportunity Act). Retrieved
December 19, 2008: http://www.congress.gov/cgibin/cpquery/?&sid=cp110xPuQA&refer=&r_n=hr803.110&db_id=110&item=&sel=TOC_1277915&.
38

13

Education from the Inside, Out
traditional classrooms to prisons. WSD’s specific goals are to: “Reduce recidivism; reduce the
cost of confinement or imprisonment; increase the success of former inmates in obtaining and
maintaining employment; and provide incentives to inmates to behave in positive ways during
confinement or imprisonment.”39
During the academic year 2007-2008, a total of 5,995 inmates participated in two- and
four-year college and graduate level courses. That year, WSD awarded 509 Associate’s, 56
Bachelor’s, and 92 Masters Degrees.40
Accredited by the Texas Education Agency, an administrative entity that monitors
activities and programs related to public education in Texas, WSD offers several levels of
education, including post-secondary programs through contracts with colleges and universities in
the same geographic regions as correctional facilities. TDCJ requires every inmate who wishes
to enroll in classes to be assessed by a “treatment department professional,” who will develop an
Individualized Treatment Program depending on an inmate’s specific programming needs. The
ITP “outlines programmatic activities for an offender, and prioritizes his/her participation in
recommended programs based on the offender’s needs, program availability, and projected
release date.”41 Inmates must also meet the admission criteria of the college or university they
apply to.42
WSD is recognized as a legal school district separate from the Department of Criminal
Justice, and therefore eligible for public funding. In 2008, WSD received $59,425,745 from the
Texas Department of Education (DOE) for all academic, trade, and vocational programs.43 Most
of this financial support, however, is used to cover the 22,452 inmates (as of September 2008)
enrolled in Windham’s basic and remedial academic and lifestyle programs, like literacy, special
education, English as a Second Language, and parenting classes. The college program receives
$2.3 million from the Texas DOE, as well as through out-of-pocket charges to inmates.
Currently, inmates enrolled in WSD under the age of 25 and within five years of release are
eligible to receive financial aid for tuition and materials associated with post-secondary
education classes from the US Department of Education’s “Youth Offender” grant (as mentioned
on page 13, effective fiscal year 2009, the criteria for financial aid will expand to include inmates
39

Windham School District. (2003). Overview. http://www.windhamschooldistrict.org/csd/policy/4.00.pdf.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice. (2008). Division of Continuing Education, Performance Report 2007–2008. Draft version.
41
See Windham School District. (2003).
42
Ibid
43
J. Ross, personal communication, October 23, 2008.
40

14

Education from the Inside, Out
35 years of age and under and within seven years of release). WSD uses the grant money to
cover the cost of the first three courses taken by eligible inmates; inmates must pay their own
way for subsequent courses. The FY 2008 grant covered approximately 2,100 inmates.44 For
inmates over the age of 35, Windham will pay for one class each semester; if inmates choose to
take additional classes, they are required to pay for the cost of those classes (moderately lower
than the cost of taking classes on a traditional campus) upon release from prison as a condition of
parole.

Nonpayment is considered a violation of parole, although according to WSD

administrators, this violation is not enforced as the sole reason to return a person to prison. In
fiscal year 2008, WSD recovered $650,000 from formerly incarcerated people—the highest
amount since the payment policy began in 1998.
Requiring inmates to pay for their college education has raised concern among some
program practitioners and academics, specifically about whether the cost of fees will deter
people from taking classes. One WSD administrator said that the cost might discourage some
people from taking classes because “they don’t want to come out of prison in debt.” However,
given that nearly 6,000 inmates have enrolled in college programs in WSD, this policy doesn’t
seem to be a disincentive. WSD does work with some colleges to reduce the fees inmates have
to pay, recognizing that the financial burdens faced by many formerly incarcerated people are
greater than those without a criminal history.
Unfortunately, no independent studies have been conducted of the impact college courses
offered through WSD have on recidivism, making it difficult to accurately assess the
effectiveness of the program. Still, Texas’s efforts to provide a statewide educational system
seem to be working—the number of inmates receiving post-secondary education degrees is
impressive and is growing every year.
Bard Prison Initiative
The Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) is an upstate New York-based program that provides
college programming in Eastern Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison for men in
Ulster County, Woodbourne Correctional Facility, a medium security prison for men in Sullivan
County, Elmira Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison for men in Chemung County,
and Bayview Correctional Facility, a medium security prison for women in New York City.

44

J. Ross, personal communication, October 22, 2008.

15

Education from the Inside, Out
Founded in 1999 by former Bard student Max Kenner, BPI gives men and women the
opportunity to earn a degree from Bard College, a highly regarded private liberal arts university.
Providing curriculum in line with a traditional liberal arts program, BPI offers Associate’s and
Bachelor’s degrees and holds classes identical to those taught at Bard College at Annandale-onHudson. Admission to the Associate’s program is competitive: inmates must have a GED or
high school diploma and program administrators cap admission at 15 spots each year. The
admissions office on Bard’s traditional campus makes decisions about acceptance into the
Bachelor’s program based on an inmate’s perceived preparedness and regardless of class size at
the correctional facility. Inmates are required to have a Bard Associate’s degree before they can
apply to the Bachelor’s degree program. According to Mr. Kenner, classes are kept small to
maintain the academic quality of the program and because of limited financial resources. As of
February 2009, Bard will have conferred 70 Associate’s and ten Bachelor’s degrees. The Bard
Prison Initiative is privately funded by money raised specifically for the program by Mr. Kenner
and Bard College.
Representatives from the Correctional Association visited Eastern Correctional Facility in
October 2008 and had the opportunity to sit in on two classes taught by Bard college professors.
The level of scholastic aptitude was on par with, and perhaps exceeded, what one would have
expected to find in a classroom of a small, elite liberal arts college. Students were engaged and
eager to learn and the professors were equally committed to the advanced material. After our
visits to the classes, we met with a group of students, academically accomplished men who
shared their thoughts on the importance of education in correctional settings. One man said that
the influence of other people in the Bard college program encouraged him to be more mature and
gave him a new sense of confidence. Another participant, Wes Caines, told us: “Prison culture
is an extension of street culture. You must consciously withdraw from prison culture, street
culture, and negative culture that is detrimental to progress. Bard [college] is a way to disengage
from the prison mentality.”
At Eastern, BPI is considered a prestigious opportunity for inmates and perhaps one of
the few paths for a better life during incarceration and post-release. Once accepted into the
program, inmates move up in status and often take on leadership roles in the facility. Mr. Caines
and another inmate, Salih Israel, told us some general population inmates see BPI students as
positive representatives of Eastern prisoners and are proud of their academic achievements.
16

Education from the Inside, Out
BPI strictly adheres to the pedagogical values that govern the educational principles at
Bard College. Reflecting the program’s commitment to providing a true liberal arts degree,
courses like Human Genetics and Transcendentalist Nature & Justice are part of the curriculum.
Furthermore, Mr. Kenner focuses on “ensuring that each member of the faculty is clear in his/her
belief that what they are doing is not charity… [and that they] honestly and totally approach their
coursework with BPI in the same way they would on campus or in any classroom of private
school students.”
Consortium of the Niagara Frontier
Established in 1975 at Attica Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison for men in
Wyoming County, New York, the Consortium of the Niagara Frontier is one of the oldest PSCE
programs in New York State. Offering Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Social Sciences or
Humanities, the Consortium consists of Niagara University, Canisius College, and Daemen
College. Since its inception, the Consortium has conferred 426 Associate’s and 292 Bachelor’s
degrees. In 2001, the Consortium left Attica and now operates only at Wyoming Correctional
Facility, a medium security prison for men also located in the town of Attica. In the years before
the elimination of Pell and TAP grants for inmates, the Consortium employed 17 full-time staff
and 80 part-time teachers. Now, Robert Hausrath, director of the Niagara Consortium, is one of
two people running the program.
The Consortium still maintains a rigorous academic program. Inmates must have a GED
or a high school diploma and must pass a basics skills exam to be accepted into the program.
While enrolled, inmates must maintain a 2.0 GPA in their courses to continue to participate in
the program. Mr. Hausrath considers the Niagara Consortium “a model for what is possible in
bringing the opportunity of higher education to the prison environment,” and says that “the
Consortium has been a witness to the ideal that education can be a vital experience that can
genuinely change the way a person views himself and the world.”45 Mr. Hausrath believes that
students learn the skills and values necessary to be successfully employed upon release and be
contributing members of their community.
Affirming Mr. Hausrath’s belief in the positive benefits of PSCE is a statement by Gerald
Elmore, former deputy superintendent of programs at Wyoming Correctional Facility. Speaking

45

Consortium of the Niagara Frontier. (2006). Fact Sheet. New York: Hausrath, R.

17

Education from the Inside, Out
in 1998, as the Niagara program was struggling to continue operations, Mr. Elmore said, “I’ve
got two kids in college but I don’t want to see [the Niagara Consortium] program disappear.
Speaking as a taxpayer I’m also looking at the $24,000 a year it costs to keep inmates in jail. We
need the college program. It pays big dividends.”46
The Niagara Consortium is funded by line item grants included in the New York State
annual budget that are supported by Assemblymember Jeffrion L. Aubry, Chair of the
Committee on Corrections, and Senator Dale M. Volker, Chair of the Committee on Codes.
Bedford Hills College Program
The Bedford Hills College Program at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum
security prison for women in Bedford Hills, New York, is another well-known PSCE program.
Thirteen New York colleges and universities administered the program for nearly ten years
before Governor George Pataki eliminated funding for it and other college programs in March
1995. A year later, a task force was organized by representatives from the local Westchester
community, local college administrators, academicians, Bedford Hills administrators, and
inmates in leadership positions to reestablish the college program. As a result of the task force’s
efforts, the Bedford Hills College Program, reinstated as College Bound, commenced in the
spring of 1997, with a group of colleges and universities joining to offer courses independent of
state and federal funding. Marymount Manhattan College is the degree-granting institution and
five other schools in downstate New York contribute faculty, resources, and other support to
maintain the program.47 The consortium awards an Associate’s Degree in Social Sciences or a
Bachelor’s in Sociology. Since 1997, the college program has awarded 72 Associate’s and 42
Bachelor’s degrees.48
The College Bound program at Bedford Hills was also the subject of the 2001 study,
Changing Minds (see page 3).

The study included a quantitative analysis on the rate of

recidivism of the 274 inmates that had participated in the Mercy College program (Mercy
College was the degree-granting institution prior to 1995) and 2,031 female offenders released
between 1985 and 1999. The study found that, 36 months after release, the women in the Mercy

46

Coeyman, M. (1998, June 30). Maximum-Security College. The Christian Science Monitor, pp B1, B6.
See Fine et al. (2001), 6.
48
J. Ross, personal communication, August 28, 2008.
47

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Education from the Inside, Out
College program had a 7.7 percent return-to-custody rate while the non-participants had a 29
percent return-to-custody rate.49
According to Aileen Baumgartner, director of College Bound, instructors and professors
maintain strict academic requirements for inmates: new students in the college program may take
only two classes per semester until they have accumulated 30 credits and have a GPA of 3.2 or
higher. Students at that point may add a third class to their schedule and they must maintain a
GPA of 2.0 for the remainder of their studies. Academic dishonesty is not tolerated and will
result in suspension from the program for up to a year. Christina Voight (see page 5) described
the teachers as “really having to teach” and said that students were “forced to think,” even more
so in the absence of internet access and specific books (certain books are banned in correctional
facilities) that are available to traditional students.
Changing Minds also credited the program’s success to “the active involvement and
support of prison administrators, community members and University Presidents; a powerful
inmate-centered community of programs, and a rigorous and creative inventory of community
assets in all forms.”50 The Correctional Association has also found evidence in conversations
with correction officers, inmates, and high-level prison officials that progressive prison
administrators are a valuable asset to developing and maintaining good college programs.
Boston University Prison Education Program
The Prison Education Program (PEP) offered by Boston University (BU) at Bay State
Correctional Facility, a medium-level security prison for men in Norfolk, Massachusetts, is
similar to the Bard Prison Initiative in its commitment to recreating the traditional college
classroom experience for inmates. To be eligible for classes, inmates who have never taken
college level courses must pass a competitive placement exam and maintain a 2.0 GPA
throughout their studies. Inmates with college experience also sit for the admissions exam, but
their scores are used solely to determine academic ability and appropriate course level. Since its
inception in 1972, BU’s Prison Education Program has conferred 284 Bachelor’s degrees in
Liberal Studies in Interdisciplinary Studies. The program is supported entirely by Boston
University which is, like Bard, a privately funded institution.

49
50

See Fine et al. (2001), 9.
See Fine et al. (2001), 42.

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Education from the Inside, Out
Dr. Robert Cadigan, PEP’s director, describes the level of academics as on par with
courses offered at Boston University’s regular campuses. He believes that maintaining the
integrity of the course and grading process is necessary if higher education is to have the
intended positive cognitive impact on inmates.
College and Community Fellowship and The College Initiative
The recent focus in New York and the nation on re-entry issues has highlighted the lack
of adequate services for formerly incarcerated people returning home to their communities. For
people who earned college credits while incarcerated, continuing their education is important to
their staying out of prison, but navigating college applications and applying for federal loans are
daunting processes. College and Community Fellowship (CCF) and The College Initiative (CI)
are two well-regarded programs in New York City providing guidance and support to formerly
incarcerated people about the college enrollment process, support services that many program
participants say were critical to their success.
CCF participants are formerly incarcerated women seeking assistance to continue their
college studies post-release. Any woman who has earned 12 college credits and maintained a 2.5
GPA (before, during, or after incarceration) can become a CCF Fellow, entitling her to a $600
grant per semester to help pay for tuition and academic supplies. CCF Fellows interviewed for
this paper reported that the grant was extremely useful in easing the financial burden college
courses pose, but that even more helpful was the support from counselors and other women
participating in CCF. Selina Fulford (see page 6), a CCF Fellow, said that attending CCF
meetings gave her the incentive to finish her undergraduate degree, and encouraged her to
continue studying at the graduate level. CCF’s diverse services such as tutoring, mentoring,
academic counseling, resource referrals, and support groups are instrumental in helping formerly
incarcerated people succeed in their academic careers.
The College Initiative is a re-entry education program open to all men and women in the
New York City metropolitan area who want to begin or continue their higher education after
release from prison or jail, during probation or parole, or while fulfilling alternative-toincarceration commitments.51

51

Offering a comprehensive program for men and women, CI

The College Initiative. Services. Retrieved November 3, 2008: http://www.collegeinitiative.org/ci/services/serv_descrip/.

20

Education from the Inside, Out
conducts outreach to inmates to begin the process of enrolling in college before they are released.
CI’s offices host orientations for new participants, once they are back in the community,
providing such services as: coaching for placement exams, direct links to information about
financial aid packages for City University of New York schools, and stipends to help cover
school-related expenses.

SUMMING UP
The policy of most states and the federal government of locking up thousands of people
each year, some for disproportionately long sentences, some for the second and third time, is a
questionable crime-reduction strategy. In fact, it can be said that the converse is true: that this
practice is criminogenic, that it leads in many cases to people returning to the community more
dangerous and violence-prone. This paper points government leaders and concerned citizens in a
different direction, providing evidence that increased access to higher education is one of the
most effective strategies available in improving public safety.
People with a criminal history are significantly more employable with a college degree
than without.

The basis for this conclusion comes from credible research on the issue,

statements by respected practitioners in the field and testimony from formerly incarcerated
people who have found that their in-prison college education opens doors that would otherwise
be tightly shut.

Giving inmates and formerly incarcerated people the tools needed to be

“marketable” to employers is a proven way to ease the transition back into the community.
From a humanistic standpoint, broadening minds through higher education is beneficial
no matter what the practical outcome. PSCE is highly valuable because it bolsters men and
women who are among the most underserved in our society and critically in need of a college
education and degree. Educators and program participants attest to the power of college level
learning in prison to decrease anti-social behaviors and increase self-efficacy among inmates.
The pride found in earning recognition for successfully completing a rigorous and challenging
academic program or learning how to have an argument that does not end in violence are
meaningful benefits of PSCE, which carry over into the community once people have returned
home. Furthermore, college programs lead to a safer environment in prison with fewer inmate

21

Education from the Inside, Out
disciplinary infractions, improved inmate leadership, and better relations between correction
officers and inmates.
Finally, public funding for college programs in prison makes good economic sense. The
excessive use of incarceration costs more money in the long-term than the relatively minimal
short-term investment in college classes for inmates and formerly incarcerated people. A welleducated population has benefits that our society will continue to realize for generations to come;
failure to provide college access to currently and formerly incarcerated people will exact too high
a cost for our state and our nation in human and fiscal terms.

RECOMMENDATIONS
Based on the findings in this paper, the Correctional Association has prepared the
following recommendations for current and future state leaders that aim to restore public funding
for college programs in prison and expand resources for post-release college programs.

1) Restore and Expand Public Funding for College Programs in Prison.

New York policymakers should heed the personal accounts of formerly incarcerated
people and practitioners and the hard facts from numerous studies that credit post-secondary
correctional education with providing multiple related benefits to the criminal justice system and
society at large. Higher education helps break the destructive cycle of educational failures,
joblessness, drug abuse, and incarceration that especially afflicts our inner-city communities. In
a speech given at the 2007 Bard Prison Initiative graduation at Eastern State Correctional
Facility, New York State Department of Correctional Services Commissioner Brian Fischer said,
“Given the opportunity, inmates can, and will, step forward on their own and make significant
changes in their lives […] prisons can be places of education, personal growth and commitment
on the part of those society chooses to forget about. It is critical for our society to support higher
education, both inside and outside the prison environment.” If New York State is committed to
improving public safety and serious about increasing access to higher education, policymakers
should adopt measures that reinstate public funding for college programs in prison.

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Education from the Inside, Out
a) Enact TAP Legislation.

The Correctional Association urges New York State to restore inmate eligibility for
Tuition Assistance Program grants, thus establishing and expanding college programs in
correctional facilities throughout the state. Although such a step would call for an initial outlay
of government funds of approximately $5 to $10 million, research and practical experience
indicate that such an investment would result in mid- to long-term benefits—in terms of reduced
recidivism, increased number of tax-paying citizens, and fewer dependents on public
assistance—far outweighing this short-term cost.
College and Community Fellowship is proposing legislation in Albany that will amend
the New York State Education Law to allow students incarcerated in federal, state, or other penal
institutions to be eligible for any general or academic performance award.

The Correctional

Association recommends that both houses of the New York State Legislature pass this bill and
that Governor David Paterson sign it into law.

b) Expand the Use of “Youth Offender” Grants.

Currently, Windham School District in Texas makes good use of federal funding for
incarcerated men and women under the age of 25. WSD uses the US Department of Education’s
“Youth Offender” $1,500 per person grant to cover the cost of the first three college courses
taken by eligible inmates; students continuing to take classes after the first three must cover costs
out-of-pocket. Following this policy, the “Youth Offender” grant was able to pay for courses for
approximately 2,100 inmates in FY 2008. WSD does contract with universities to offer classes
at a reduced tuition rate, helping to make the cost to inmates manageable. While requiring
inmates to pay for their college education may not be the most fair or judicious criminal justice
policy, it should indicate that states have discretion in using the “Youth Offender” grant.
The Correctional Association recommends that New York State prison administrators
prepare for the changes in the eligibility requirements of the “Youth Offender” grant. Federal
lawmakers recently amended title VIII of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, expanding
“Youth Offender” grant eligibility to include inmates 35 years of age or younger and within
seven years of release date. Title VIII will provide $3,000 for each student annually for tuition,
23

Education from the Inside, Out
books, and essential materials and $300 annually for related services. These changes become
effective in 2009, meaning that New York should take steps now to enable the greatest number
of eligible inmates to make use of the new funding stream.

2) Require New York’s Board of Parole to Consider Steady Participation in College
Programs as a Qualifying Indicator for Parole Release.

The Correctional Association recommends that the New York State Board of Parole
consider consistent and long-term participation in college courses as a mark of good behavior
and “rehabilitation.”

Correctional facilities do not present ideal conditions for advanced

academic study, yet many inmates become engaged with the material and persevere to complete
assignments. Salih Israel, a participant in the Bard Prison Initiative, said that inmates’ level of
mental and emotional commitment to doing well in class and working towards their degree
indicates their readiness for parole. Stating that parole decisions have a strong impact on student
morale, Max Kenner, director of BPI, described inmates who have spent several years studying
through Bard and then been rejected by the Board of Parole as experiencing a “spiritual
collapse.” Many inmates enrolled in post-secondary correctional education programs participate
because it will improve their chances of finding a job and staying straight on the outside. As a
matter of public policy, it makes no sense to effectively discourage inmates from pursuing a
college degree by repeatedly declining parole release for responsible program participants.

3) Increase Resources to Programs that Provide Access to Higher Education
Opportunities for Formerly Incarcerated People as a Means of Supporting Successful Reentry and Community Well-being.

Formerly incarcerated people returning to their communities often have limited access to
college education. In the New York City area, there are only two well-established programs
(College and Community Fellowship and The College Initiative, described on pages 20-21) that
help formerly incarcerated people start or continue their college education. The State can
improve access to education for inmates, a traditionally underserved population, by employing

24

Education from the Inside, Out
“college counselors” at correctional facilities to help inmates apply for college before release and
by integrating information about academic opportunities into state-run re-entry programs.
Policymakers can also increase grants and/or public funding for organizations that
connect formerly incarcerated people to colleges in their local communities.

College and

Community Fellowship and The College Initiative are important resources not only because they
provide a moderate amount of financial aid to cover the cost of tuition and books, but also
because of the role the programs play in creating a support system for participants.

The

Correctional Association urges New York to increase public funding for College and Community
Fellowship and The College Initiative and to take steps to establish similar programs in other
regions of the state, so that a greater number of formerly incarcerated people can receive these
important services.

25

Education from the Inside, Out
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Batiuk, M.E., Lahm, K.F., McKeever, M., Wilcox, N., & Wilcox, P. (2005). Disentangling the
effects of correctional education: Are current policies misguided? An event history
analysis. Criminal Justice, 5(1). Retrieved June 15, 2008, from New York University
database.
Bazos, A., & Hausman, J. (2004). Correctional Education as a Crime Control Program.
University of California at Los Angeles School of Public Policy and Social Research,
Department of Policy Studies. Available from National Institute of Corrections:
http://www.nicic.org/Library/019685.
Buckley, C. (2008, July 14.) City Refines Formula to Measure Poverty Rate. The New York
Times. Retrieved
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/14/nyregion/14poverty.html?scp=4&sq=povertypercen
t20line&st=cse
Chapell, C.A. (2004). Post-Secondary Correctional Education and Recidivism: A Meta-Anlysis
of Research Conducted 1990-1999. Journal of Correctional Education, 55(2). Retrieved
June 15, 2008, from New York University database.
Coeyman, M. (1998, June 30). Maximum-Security College. The Christian Science Monitor, pp
B1, B6.
The College Initiative. Services. Retrieved November 3, 2008, from
http://www.collegeinitiative.org/ci/services/serv_descrip/.
Contardao, J, & Tolbert, M. (2008). Prison Postsecondary Education: Bridging Learning from
Incarceration to the Community. Available from the Prisoner Reentry Institute website:
http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/centersinstitutes/pri/publications.asp.
Correctional Association of New York & Justice Policy Institute. (1998). New York State of
Mind?: Higher Education vs. Prison Funding in the Empire State, 1988-1998. New
York: Gangi, R., Schiraldi, V., Ziedenberg, J.
Correctional Association of New York. (2006). New York Should Reinstitute College Programs
in Prison. New York, NY: The Correctional Association of New York.
Correctional Association of New York. (1999). Plan for Restoring College Programs to New
York State Prisons.
Correctional Education Association. (2001). Three State Recidivism Study. Lanham, Maryland:
Steurer, S. J., Smith, L., & Tracy, L.
Consortium of the Niagara Frontier. The Benefits to New York State of Higher Education
Programs for Inmates. New York: Hausrath, R.
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Consortium of the Niagara Frontier. (2006). Fact Sheet. New York: Hausrath, R.
Crayton, A., & Neusteter, S. R. (2008). The Current State of Correctional Education. New York:
The Prisoner Re-Entry Institute.
Educational Testing Service Policy Information Center. (2006). Locked Up and Locked Out: An
Education Perspective on the U.S. Prison Population. Princeton, NJ: Barton, P.E., &
Coley, R.J.
Fine, M., Torre, M.E., Boudin, K., Bowen, I., Clark, J., Hylton, D., et al. (2001). Changing
Minds: The Impact of College in a Maximum-Security Prison. New York: The Graduate
Center of the City University of New York.
Gaes, G.G. (2008). The Impact of Prison Education on Post-Release Outcomes. New York: The
Prisoner Re-Entry Institute.
The Institute for Higher Education Policy. (2005). Learning to Reduce Recidivism: A 50-State
Analysis of Postsecondary Correctional Education Policy. Washington, D.C.: Contardo,
J.B., & Erisman, W.
The Institute for Higher Education Policy. (2005). The Investment Payoff: A 50-State Analysis of
the Public and Private Benefits of Higher Education. Washington, D.C.: Cunningham,
A., Krichels, S., Merisotis, J., Daulton, C.R., Clinedinst, M., Hardge, L.
The Institute for Higher Education Policy. (2004). Investing in America’s Future: Why Student
Aid Pays Off for Society and Individuals. Washington, D.C.: Cunningham, A.
Karpowitz, D., & Kenner, M. (2003). Education as Crime Prevention: The Case for Reinstating
Pell Grant Eligibility for the Incarcerated.
Legal Action Center. (2008). Drug Law Reform 2008—Dramatic Cost Savings for New York
State.
MacKenzie, D.L. (2008). Structure and Components of Successful Educational Programs. New
York: The Prisoner Re-Entry Institute.
New York State Commission on Sentencing Reform. (2007). Evidence Based Analysis of Two
Criminal Justice Policies Designed to Reduce Risk, Increase Public Safety and Lower
Reincarceration Rates. The Graduate Center City University of New York: Fine, M.
North Carolina Department of Correction, Education Services. (2007). Education Services
Annual Report, Calendar Year 2006.
http://www.doc.state.nc.us/dop/education/index.htm.

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Olian, C. (Producer). (April 15, 2007). 60 Minutes (Television broadcast). New York: Central
Broadcasting Service.
Peat, B.T. & Winfree, L.T., Jr. (1992). Reducing the Intra-Institutional Effects of
"Prisonization." Criminal Justice and Behavior, 19(2). Retrieved August 9, 2008, from
New York University database.
State of New York Department of Correctional Services. (1991). Analysis of Return Rates of the
Inmate College Program Participants. New York: Clark, D.D.
State of New York Department of Correctional Services. (2008). New York State Department of
Correction Services college programs fact sheet.
http://www.docs.state.ny.us/NewsRoom/College_Programs_0508.pdf.
State of New York Department of Correctional Services. (2007). Acting Commissioner Fisher’s
Remarks at the Bard College Eastern Correctional Facility College Graduation
Ceremony. Retrieved July 3, 2008, from
http://www.docs.state.ny.us/PressRel/EasternCF.htm.
State University of New York. (2007). SUNY Chancellor John Ryan's Testimony to Joint
Legislative Hearing of the Senate Finance Committee and Assembly Ways and Means
Committee. Available http://www.suny.edu/sunyNews/News.cfm?filname=2007-0208RyanBudgetTestimony.htm.
Texas Department of Education. (2005). Chapter 19. Schools in the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice. http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/ed.toc.htm.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice. (2008). Division of Continuing Education, Performance
Report 2007-2008. Draft version.
United States Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census
Bureau. (2007). Income, Earnings, and Poverty Data From the 2006 American
Community Survey (American Community Survey Reports, ACS-08). Washington, D.C.:
Webster, B. H., Jr., & Bishaw, A.
United States Department of Education. (2004). Correctional Education: Assessing the Status of
Prison Programs and Information Needs. Maryland: Klein, S., Bugarin, Tolbert, M., R.,
Cataldi, E.F., & Tauschek, G.
United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2008). The
Condition of Education 2008 (NCES 2008—031), Indicator 20.

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United States Department of Justice. (1994). U.S. Department of Justice Fact Sheet, Violent
Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Available from
http://www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles/billfs.txt.
United States House of Representatives. (2008). Sec/ 931. Repeals. (House Report 110-803Higher Education Opportunity Act). Retrieved 2008, December 19
http://www.congress.gov/cgibin/cpquery/?&sid=cp110xPuQA&refer=&r_n=hr803.110&db_id=110&item=&sel=TO
C_1277915&.
United States Senate. (2005). Text of S. 1352 [109th]: Improved Workplace and Community
Transition Training for Incarcerated Youth Offenders Act of 2005.
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s109-1352.
Windham School District. (2007). Annual Performance Report 2006-2007.
http://www.windhamschooldistrict.org/PDF/APR.pdf.
Windham School District. (2003). Overview.
http://www.windhamschooldistrict.org/csd/policy/4.00.pdf.
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. (2007). Correctional Education. Retrieved August 8,
2008, from http://www.fridaycenter.unc.edu/cp/correctional.htm.

29

Education from the Inside, Out

APPENDIX A: POST-SECONDARY CORRECTIONAL EDUCATION FACT SHEET
COLLEGE PROGRAMS FOR INCARCERATED AND
FORMERLY INCARCERATED PEOPLE
Did you know…
New York used to have 70 college programs in correctional facilities…
In September of 1994, President Bill Clinton signed a law that prohibited the awarding of
Pell Grants to individuals incarcerated in federal or state correctional facilities, effectively
leaving the choice to fund higher education programs in prison to the states.
In New York, former Governor Mario Cuomo continued state funding for post-secondary
correctional education (PSCE) grants for the last year he was in office. In 1995 however, the
first year George Pataki took office as governor, New York State eliminated inmate eligibility
for Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) grants that had been the main source of revenue for the
state’s in-prison college programs.1 Out of about 300,000 students receiving TAP grants in fiscal
year 1994-1995, about 3,000 students, or one percent, were inmates. Nationwide, nearly all the
350 PSCE programs closed2—only four out of 70 remained open in New York—despite the
widely held view among correction officials and experts in the field about the benefits of such
programs.
New York spends more on incarceration than education…
New York has a history of lopsided spending on education versus incarceration: the
current average yearly cost of incarcerating a person is $44,000,3 while the State University of
New York spends $7,645 per year on instructional expenditures for each full-time student.4
Furthermore, New York public spending on higher education pales in comparison to
other states: for each full-time enrolled student, the University of Illinois spends $9,531, the
University of North Carolina $11,660, the University of Texas system $13,510, and the
University of California $14,692.5
Studies show that correctional education programs and, in particular, college programs,
significantly reduce recidivism rates…
Several studies have compared recidivism rates of formerly incarcerated people who
participated in college programs in prison with inmates who did not. In 1991, New York’s
Department of Correctional Services published Analysis of Return Rates of the Inmate College
Program Participants that tracked men and women who had earned a degree in the Inmate
College Program during the 1986-1987 academic year, finding the rate of return for degree-

1
Correctional Association of New York & Justice Policy Institute. (1998). New York State of Mind?: Higher Education vs. Prison Funding in the
Empire State, 1988–1998. New York: Gangi, R., Schiraldi, V., Ziedenberg, J., 2.
2
Fine, M., Torre, M.E., Boudin, K., Bowen, I., Clark, J., Hylton, D., et al. (2001). Changing Minds: The Impact of College in a MaximumSecurity Prison. New York: The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, 6.
3
Legal Action Center. (2008). Drug Law Reform 2008–Dramatic Cost Savings for New York State, 6.
4
State University of New York. (2007). SUNY Chancellor John Ryan's Testimony to Joint Legislative Hearing of the Senate Finance Committee
and Assembly Ways and Means Committee. Available http://www.suny.edu/sunyNews/News.cfm?filname=2007-0208RyanBudgetTestimony.htm.
5
Ibid

1

Education from the Inside, Out
earners to be significantly lower than that of participants who did not earn a degree. Of those
earning a degree, 26.4 percent had been returned to the Department's custody, whereas 44.6
percent of those participants who did not earn a degree were returned to custody. Degree earning
participants also returned to prison at a lower rate than would be expected when compared to the
overall male return rate. The Department concluded, “These findings suggest that earning a
college degree while incarcerated is positively related to successful post-release adjustment as
measured by return to the Department’s custody.”6
In 2001, The Correctional Education Association released the Three State Recidivism
Study comparing recidivism data across Ohio, Maryland, and Minnesota on 3,170 inmates
released between late 1997 and early 1998. One of the more comprehensive studies conducted
on the subject, the Three State Recidivism Study found that the 1,373 inmates who had
participated in college programs while incarcerated had significantly lower re-arrest, reconviction, and re-incarceration rates than non-participants.7
A third noteworthy report, Post-Secondary Correctional Education and Recidivism,
collected 15 separate studies conducted between 1990 and 1999 and analyzed the recidivism
rates of over 7,320 inmates. As with nearly all other studies examining the issue, the report
found that post-secondary correctional education is correlated with lower rates of recidivism.
Correctional facilities that offer college programs are safer for inmates and staff alike…
PSCE programs are particularly valuable in improving conditions inside the facilities.
Prison administrators, inmates, and correction officers all attest to the value of college programs
because they provide an incentive for good behavior, help inmates develop a sense of self-esteem
and responsibility, and produce a steady stream of mature leadership. The September 2001 study
and narrative of the college program experience at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in
Westchester, New York, Changing Minds: The Impact of College in a Maximum Security Prison,
included accounts from several correction officers citing fewer fights and better communication
between inmates and officers as one of the program’s positive results. A paper published by the
Correctional Association in 1998 had similar findings—college programs help maintain a
calmer, more manageable environment in prison.8
College programs are more cost-effective in improving public safety than incarceration…
Correctional Education as Crime Control, a study by the University of California, Los
Angeles Department of Policy Studies, sought to answer the question, “If a state has a million
dollars to invest in crime control, which method will prevent more crimes—educating inmates or
keeping them imprisoned longer?”9 The study used data from the widely-cited and
comprehensive Three State Recidivism Study, plus additional data on education costs and crime
rates from the three states in the study—Maryland, Minnesota, and Ohio. The report found that
the cost to the state per crime prevented by offering education to inmates is about $1,600; the
cost to the state per crime prevented by extending prison sentences is $2,800.10 Translated into

6
State of New York Department of Correctional Services. (1991). Analysis of Return Rates of the Inmate College Program Participants. New
York: Clark, D.D.
7
See Correctional Education Association (1999), 39.
8
Correctional Association of New York. (1999). Plan for Restoring College Programs to New York State Prisons, 1.
9
Bazos, A., & Hausman, J. (2004). Correctional Education as a Crime Control Program. University of California at Los Angeles School of
Public Policy and Social Research, Department of Policy Studies. Available from National Institute of Corrections:
http://www.nicic.org/Library/019685, 8.
10
Ibid, 9.

2

Education from the Inside, Out
the terms of its guiding question, the study concluded, “A $1 million investment in incarceration
will prevent about 350 crimes, while that same investment in education will prevent more than
600 crimes. Correctional education is almost twice as cost effective as incarceration.”11
Increasing access to higher education has benefits for both the individual and society…
The Investment Payoff, a 2005 study by the Institute for Higher Education Policy, on the
public and private benefits of higher education, found that, “Individuals with a Bachelor’s degree
reported lower levels of unemployment than individuals with a high school diploma.”12 The
study also noted, “Going to college has broad and quantifiable national impacts, from higher
salaries to improved health to increased volunteerism to a reduced reliance on welfare and other
social support programs.”13
Academic programs in prison are more important than ever…
According to a study by the U.S. Department of Education, “Incarcerated adults have
among the lowest academic attainment and highest illiteracy and disability rates of virtually any
segment of the population.”14 A college education has become one of the most valuable assets in
the US—it is now estimated that a Bachelor’s degree is worth more than $1 million in lifetime
earnings.15

11

Ibid, 10.
The Institute for Higher Education Policy. (2005). The Investment Payoff: A 50-State Analysis of the Public and Private Benefits of Higher
Education. Washington, D.C.: Cunningham, A., Krichels, S., Merisotis, J., Daulton, C.R., Clinedinst, M., Hardge, L., 1.
13
Ibid, 3.
14
United States Department of Education. (2004). Correctional Education: Assessing the Status of Prison Programs and Information Needs.
Maryland: Klein, S., Bugarin, Tolbert, M., R., Cataldi, E.F., & Tauschek, G., 6.
15
The Institute for Higher Education Policy. (2004). Investing in America’s Future: Why Student Aid Pays Off for Society and Individuals.
Washington, D.C.: Cunningham, A., 1.
12

3

Education from the Inside, Out
Correctional Association of New York
Board of Directors
Chair
William J. Dean
Vice Chairs
Gail Allen, M.D.
Barbara J. Berg
Ralph S. Brown, Jr.
Clay Hiles
James D. Silbert
Joan Steinberg
David D. Troutt
Gregg A. Walker
Treasurer
Peter Swords
Secretary
Seymour W. James, Jr.
Directors
John Brickman
Wilhelmus B. Bryan III
Constance P. Carden
Peter v. Z. Cobb
Gregory L. Curtner
Lourdes Falco
Nereida L. Ferran, M.D.
Leroy Frazer, Jr.
Annete Gordon-Reed
Richard M. Gutierrez
Elizabeth B. Hubbard
Ricky Jones
Teresa A. Miller
Michael B. Mushlin
Meile Rockefeller
Hon. Felice K. Shea
Katrina vanden Heuvel
William J. vanden Heuvel
Jan Warren
Basil Wilson
Rev. Alfonso Wyatt

Staff
Administration
Robert Gangi, Executive Director
Richard Bryant, Fiscal Manager
Laura A. Davidson, Director of Operations
Carnell Hayes, Office Assistant
Josephine Rivera, Administrative Assistant
Development
Marci McLendon, Director
Caitlin Kundrat, Development Assistant
Sam Streed, Development Associate
Juvenile Justice Project
Charisa A. Smith, Director
DeAvery Irons, Project Associate
Prison Visiting Project
Jack Beck, Director
Cindy Eigler, Project Associate
Amber Norris, Project Associate
Public Policy Project
Caitlin Dunklee, Project Associate
Women in Prison Project
Tamar Kraft-Stolar, Director
Serena Alfieri, Project Associate
Stacey Thompson, Community Outreach Educator
Andrea Williams, Re-Connect Program Director
Maggie Williams, Associate Director

 

 

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