Serving time is not a waste of time. While an inmate is incarcerated, he or she has every opportunity to better themselves and prepare for their impending re-entry into society. Jails and prisons alike offer rehabilitative programs. These programs allow every inmate an equal opportunity to return to the outside world as a better and more productive member of society. Educational, vocational training, work release, drug-abuse, self-help, health care, religious, and finally recreational programs are just a few of the hundreds of correctional programs that inmates can participate in. Due to these programs, positive changes within an inmates life, as well as drastic changes in our society, are entirely within reach.
Educational programs in correctional institutions began around the time correctional facilities were being introduced. William Rogers began instructing student inmates, in 1789, at the Philadelphia Walnut Street Jail. Rogers established what is now known as the “Sabbath School”. The “Sabbath School” existed from 1789 to about 1875. Within this period, members of the clergy focused on teaching to read. The clergy strove for every inmate to be able to read the Bible. Zebulon Brockway assisted Rogers goal from 1876 until 1900. At the Elmira Reformatory, in Upstate New York, Brockway transformed the Reformatory into a school for inmates. Many educated inmates began instructing other inmates, and some willing professors were brought in to teach geography and natural sciences. In 1882, a summer school began at the Elmira Reformatory. Rogers and Brockway formed the way for the educational programs in our present correctional institutions.
Today, based on many facts, researchers are led to believe that correctional educational programs reduce future criminal activity because of two main reasons. The first is that because of the inmates increased cognitive skills, many definite changes in their behavior will occur. Secondly, education courses can instruct inmates on how to lead a crime-free life. Aside from just the inmates life, families and society also benefit from the educational programs. Every inmate is encouraged to reach at least a sixth grade educational level. “In support of The Second Chance Act of 2007-which identified correctional education as a high-priority area-the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, has awarded a research grant to the RAND Corporation to provide a comprehensive examination of the current state of correctional education and where it is headed, which correctional education programs are effective, and how effective programs can be implemented across different settings”( Davis, Bozick, & Saunders, 2011). Schooling within our current criminal justice system is very important and has come a long way to assist our society and still has a very long way to go.
Another form of educational programs are the vocational training programs. Vocational training is training for a particular career or...