Partnerships Between Community Colleges and Prisons Providing Workforce Education and Training to...
Author(s): Tolbert, Michelle
Organizational Author(s): Pacific Institute for Research; Evaluation and Mathematica Policy Research
U.S. Department of Education
Resource Availability: Publicly available
Discusses the logistics behind partnerships between prisons and community colleges to reduce recidivism.
“Most of the nearly 700,000 state prisoners released each year are ill equipped to meet the challenges of reentering society. More than two-thirds of released prisoners are arrested within three years of leaving prison, and almost half are reincarcerated because they are lacking marketable skills, are burdened by a criminal record that makes them ineligible to be hired in many occupations, and have few supports to make transitions to society…. Correctional education programs are intended to break the cycle of catch-and-release by providing inmates with more opportunities to develop the skills required to succeed in their workplaces and communities” (p.1)
Since community colleges are committed to open access admission, they are natural partners for prisons needing support in providing correctional education…. In fact, a 50-state analysis of postsecondary correctional education policy conducted by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) in 2005 found that 68 percent of all postsecondary correctional education is provided by community colleges” (p.3).
“This review [of partnerships between community colleges and prisons] seeks to: increase the visibility of partnerships between community colleges and prisons, encourage their replication in other communities, and illustrate how these partnerships can be a win-win for all involved—community colleges, prisons, inmates, and the public. Providing correctional education to inmates gives community colleges the opportunity to increase their student enrollment and revenue and fulfill their mission to make education available to all local residents. By collaborating with community colleges, prisons can strengthen and expand their educational services to prepare inmates more effectively for their transitions to life beyond prison” (p.3).
(Abstractor: Author)Full Publication Title: Partnerships Between Community Colleges and Prisons: Providing Workforce Education and Training to Reduce Recidivism
Major Findings & Recommendations
“To provide correctional education services successfully to inmates, a partnership between prisons and community colleges must have in place an effective management structure, adequate funding, appropriate instruction, and practical and creative tactics for addressing such challenges as low completion rates and negative public perceptions of partnerships. The state representatives interviewed for this review also identified the following reasons for their success:
• Willingness to compromise;
• Good communication;
• Buy-in from top to bottom in each partner agency;
• Shared leadership; and
• A flexible framework to guide the partnership and services provided.
Prisons and colleges interested in forming a partnership or strengthening an existing partnership should consider the approaches developed and lessons learned by the states interviewed for this review. By doing so, the correctional education services they provide will help to decrease the number of inmates in the United States caught in the detrimental cycle of catch-and-release” (p.29).