Open Access Research Article

From Confinement to College: Impacts of College in Prison Education on Formerly Incarcerated Persons of East Jersey State Prison, New Jersey

Sanford Sandy Shevack*

Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, William Paterson University, USA

Corresponding Author

Received Date: August 14, 2019;  Published Date: September 16, 2019


Formerly incarcerated people re-entering society find their convictions can make obtaining employment nearly impossible [1]. Usually, they are return to the same impoverished communities in which they lived prior to incarceration. Society’s overreliance on prisons as a solution to reduce crime has made incarceration a “normal” life event in many poor neighborhoods, and issues of race and income inequalities are aggravating factors within these disenfranchised communities (Center for Prison Education [CPE], n.d.). The probability of a family living in poverty increases by nearly 40% while the father is in prison, and children of incarcerated parents are at greater risk of developmental delays, behavioral problems, academic failure, and are more likely to become prisoners themselves [2].

Earning a college degree has significant socioeconomic advantages. As of 2015, workers with less than a high school diploma earned an average $493 a week compared to an average $798 a week for workers with an associate’s degree and an average $1,137 a week for workers with a bachelor’s degree [3].

This study assessed the impact of college education on formerly incarcerated men of East Jersey State Prison of the New Jersey Department of Corrections. The research examined how higher education courses taught within penal institutions affected recidivism and helped ex-offenders reintegrate into their communities. The college program is known as the New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons (NJ STEP).

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