Texas Study on Postsecondary Correctional Education

By Christopher Zoukis  Image courtesy

In the field of correctional education there are numerous tools, different types of prison education programming which can be used to teach and treat our incarcerated students.  These include basic literacy, high school equivalency (often in the form of GED classes), Adult Continuing Education, Adult Basic Education, vocational training, college in prison, and more.  All of these are effective at helping our incarcerated students prepare for a law abiding life outside of prison.  All of these forms of correctional education programming have been shown to reduce recidivism, instances of prison misconduct, and victimization.  But the one proven time and time again to be the most effective is postsecondary correction education; college courses offered in prisons.  And with this knowledge, we examine one such correctional education study that proves this point, and emphatically so.

According to the Institute for Higher Education Policy, one study on correctional education in Texas specifically looked at the costs and benefits of running college-level education programs for state prisoners.  For the 2004 year alone, they found the following:


  • ·         Texas spent $14,700 in incarceration costs per prisoner in 2004, totaling $2.4 billion for the State.
  • ·         Texas spent only $3.7 million (0.15 percent of the corrections’ budget) on non-college correctional education, which equated to $382 per prison inmate.
  • ·         After including college costs in the equation, the State of Texas spent $3,082 per prisoner on education.


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