Prison Education Essay

2052 words - 8 pages

In today’s society there are more people being incarcerated in America than ever before.
“Today the U.S. incarceration rate is about seven times higher than the West European average and is approached only by rates in the penal systems”(WIlderman & Western, 2010, P. 2). Historically the prison has been viewed, as a place to incarcerate people who pose the greatest threat to society but with so many people being incarcerated is that really happening. More people have an increased risk of being incarcerated before the age of 35. Research that was completed by Bruce Western demonstrates that increased chance. Western estimates that white males born from1965 to 1969 will have a 2.9% chance of being incarcerated before the age of 35. Compared to white males who were born from 1945 to 1949 there was a 1.4% to chance. Western also estimates that black males born from 1965 to 1969 that there was a 20.5% chance of being incarcerated before the age of 35. For black males born from 1945-1949, there was an 11% chance of being incarcerated before the age of 35 (Punishment and inequalities, 2006 p.25). Not only are there more people being incarcerated, but more government funding are being directed towards the prison system. Western states that, “from 1977 to 1999, total state and local expenditures on corrections increased by 946%—about 2.5 times the rate of increase of spending on all levels of education (370%)”(Schiraldi & Ziendenberg, 2003, P. 4). The government is spending more money to fund the prison system than on education. Programs have begun to develop across the country, as a result of the increasing prison population to try and help educate the people who are incarcerated. The statistics show that the more education a person has the less likely they are to be incarcerated (Wilderman & Western, 2010, P. 2). The rehabilitative approach believes that with an education program in the prisons to help to educate the inmates it helps to reduce recidivism. In the past, the government helped to provide financial assistance by allowing the inmates to apply for financial aid and receive a Pell Grant. The Pell Grant is a government funded program that helps to subsidize the cost of attending college to people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. This program was offered to inmates as a way to allow inmates to gain skills that could be used to earn a living once they were out of prison. The government also saw it as a way of equalizing the population, so that people who were incarcerated and did not have an education could have equal access to education. The Pell grant was made available to inmates for inmates to apply to in 1965. Title IV made it so that inmates could apply and get financial aid but had to have a high school diploma. In the early 1980’s-1990’s changes began to occur to the Title IV bill that began to limit inmate’s ability to receive Pell Grants (Hooks, Mosher, Genter, Rotolo & Lobao, 2010, P.73). In 1994,...

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