Educational and work rehabilitation programs

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Programs for educational and vocational rehabilitation are likely the two types of therapy most frequently used in American jails. The prevalence of educational and work programs actually reflects legal views that education is crucial for a prisoner to find employment and contribute positively to society. Even though the results are mixed, the current research typically shows that educational programs are crucial for lowering post-release recidivism. This is primarily the time when certain prisoners are typically singled out. Prisoners who have undergone educational rehabilitation can now access other types of education, such as classes on living skills. Such kinds of programs are normally predicted based on the idea that after the release of the prisoners back to the society, they will not be able to have the needed understandings essential in the proper functioning of the community. As a result, the educational rehabilitation program will train them on various skills on how to manage their households and money as well as how to marry and live decent and healthy lives (Helfrich, 2016).


Education does not intend to correct everyone, by all means, however, it is one of the best strategies to address the high literacy level in the prison system. Actually, it will need a lot of work to be carried out in order to help the prisoner through educational rehabilitation. Prisoners will be motivated not to get into trouble instead they will follow a prescribed path that has a positive impact on their lives in case they are engaged in the workplace environment. The rate of recidivism is probably one of the essential factors when assessing the efficiency of educational rehabilitation in the prison system. Understanding of recidivism is essential in the educational rehabilitation since the treatment efficiency is normally determined through comparison and measurement of the rates of recidivism. Recidivism rates offer a perfect signal on the efficiency of the rehabilitation and treatment by providing precise information on whether the ex-prisoners have gone back to the prison. The recidivism rates vary in different countries. For instance, there is a high recidivism rate in the U.S that ranges from 41% to 60% (Helfrich, 2016). Educational rehabilitation is therefore important in the prison system. This paper discusses educational rehabilitation in the prison system. It will discuss the historical perspective of educational rehabilitation in the prison system. Besides, it will discuss the researches that have been conducted on the topic. It will conclude by discussing the personal experiences and information from subject matter experts (Helfrich, 2016).

Historical Perspective of Educational Rehabilitation in the Prison System

The idea of rehabilitation is based on the presumption that there are certain factors that influence criminal behaviors. It is a perspective that does not disregard that individuals make certain choices in life that are supposed to breach the law, nevertheless, it emphasizes that such kinds of choices are not mainly based on the free will. Rather, they are decisions that individuals make to carry out criminal activities are sustained to be established by the biological, psychological and social backgrounds of an individual. People are very different hence they normally express their will differently (Helfrich, 2016).

Despite the fact that different types of organizations existed before, there is the accreditation of the U.S in their intervention in the present prison system. Prior to the 1820s and 1839s, there were different perceptions about prisons. In countries such as the U.S, the jails were managed by the local counties, however, they normally had a house architecture. Such kinds of houses were mainly used to hold the criminal offenders who were waiting for punishment or trial. Actually, the idea that locking up the offenders might serve a bigger role that might have been removed by the colonial American citizens. Nevertheless, the concept about criminals and how to transform their lives through educational rehabilitation had extremely changed by 1820s. Individuals never abandoned their religious views as well as the predisposition to equate their criminal acts with sins. Nevertheless, they were somewhat becoming persuaded that the communities and families were not able to convey moral ideas that required them to avoid temptations of committing criminal offenses. Therefore, in case social disorder was the main factor that contributed to criminal acts, then it is vital to establish an orderly strategy that would assist in the rehabilitation of the prisoners (Helfrich, 2016).

Research Conducted on the Topic

Various studies have been conducted on the topic, “Educational Rehabilitation in the Prison System.” For instance, Mohammed & Mohammed (2015) carried out a research where he established that prisoners who had registered in many educational rehabilitation programs during their imprisonment had reduced rates of recidivism than prisoners who never attended such programs. They established that educational rehabilitation programs are essential for the prisoners since it helps them to gain vital skills that would enhance their transition to the society after the end of their jail term. Therefore, additional efforts on educational rehabilitation are essential in enhancing improved participation of the prisoners in all the education programs in the prisons. In addition, Behan (2014) also carried out research on the educational rehabilitation in the prison system. His research was mainly based on the motivations that existed behind the participation of Irish prisoners in educational programs. The research started by assessing the link between rehabilitation and education in the prison system. It established that educational rehabilitation enables prisoners to learn and be valuable after their release from their imprisonment. The educational program enables the prisoners to participate in a critical reflection while at the same time evading engagement in any form of criminal activity. Another important research that was conducted on the topic is a research by Ellison et al (2017). According to Ellison et al (2017), educational rehabilitation is very essential in the prison due to the fact that it helps prisoners to gain employment opportunities after being released from the prison. It is therefore essential for educational programs to be initiated in various prisons so as to reduce recidivism and increase the rates of employment.

Personal Experiences

From a personal point of view, I have experienced instances in which many prisoners released from prisons either ruin their lives completely by lacking anything substantial to do or positively engage in development projects through employment that has transformed their lives. For instance, in 2012, a friend of mine who was imprisoned for a rape case was released from prison after serving a 5-year jail term. He was highly traumatized that he could not do anything. He did not get involved in any rehabilitation program hence there was no professional work he could do after his release from the prison. As a result, he depended completely on his parents thus failing to achieve his professional goals. On the other hand, there was my cousin who was imprisoned for 3 years due to a forgery case. During his jail term, he was actively involved in educational rehabilitation programs in the prison. He specialized in carpentry work. After his release towards the end of 2016, he has been actively involved in carpentry work that has enabled him to earn a source of living. His living standards have also greatly improved due to the fact that he could manage to work and earn a source of income. From these two personal experiences, it is evident that educational rehabilitation in the prison system is very important. It helps the prisoners to acquaint themselves with necessary skills that would help them accomplish their career goals (Helfrich, 2016).

Information from Subject Matter Experts

According to the subject matter experts, educational rehabilitation in the prison system is very important. The model of rehabilitation usually makes sense only in case the criminal behaviors are caused and not just based on the rational preferences. In case criminal activities were based on the free choices by individuals, then suspects would not undergo through rehabilitation in order to reform themselves. Nevertheless, in case different factors contribute to engagement in criminal activities then there are other reasonably re-offending that might be minimized in case there are other correctional interventions that might be made to change the factors influencing people to engage in criminal acts. Beyond the rehabilitation programs that try to furnish the prisoners with essential skills to actually live a fruitful and productive life in the society, there are certain rehabilitation programs that try to transform the basic problems that implicate or cause the criminalities of the prisoner. For instance, drug abuse rehabilitation programs are some of the most common intervention measures that could be used by the prisoners in order to help them after their release from the prison. The subject matter experts denote that more than half of the prisoners imprisoned had previously used drugs in their lives. Therefore, the educational rehabilitation programs help to educate the prisoners on the value of using drugs and how it can directly impact their lives after their release from prison (Bachi, 2013).


Educational rehabilitation in the prison system is very important. It helps to acquaint the prisoners with the necessary skills that could help them to live a healthy life after their release. Besides, it helps them to learn essential skills that would assist them to seek employment. Employment is vital since it would keep ex-prisoners busy hence they might not think about engaging in other activities that might be deemed illegal or unethical. It is appropriate for each prison to initiate educational rehabilitation so as to help the many prisoners who are normally traumatized due to lack of substantial things to do after their release from prisons. The educational rehabilitation also trains them on the best strategy to survive and adapt to normal life after imprisonment hence reducing the number of individuals who have been found to have committed suicide after the end of their jail term.


Bachi, K. (2013). Equine-Facilitated Prison-Based Programs Within the Context of Prison-Based Animal Programs: State of the Science Review. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 52(1), 46-74. doi:10.1080/10509674.2012.734371

Behan, C. (2014). Learning to Escape: Prison Education, Rehabilitation and the Potential for Transformation. Journal of Prison Education and Reentry, 1(1), 20. doi:10.15845/jper.v1i1.594

Ellison, M., Szifris, K., Horan, R., & Fox, C. (2017). A Rapid Evidence Assessment of the effectiveness of prison education in reducing recidivism and increasing employment. Probation Journal, 64(2), 108-128. doi:10.1177/0264550517699290

Helfrich, J. T. (2016). The Rochester River School: Humane Education to Confront Educational Injustice and the School-to-Prison Pipeline in Rochester, New York. Addressing Environmental and Food Justice toward Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline, 35-52. doi:10.1057/978-1-137-50822-5_3

Mohamed, H., & Mohamed, W. A. (2015). Reducing Recidivism through Vocational Education and Training Programs. ScienceDirect, 204, 272-276. doi:10.1037/e620162012-001

July 15, 2023

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