Importance Of College Education In Rehabilitating Prison Inmates

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Yes, inmates should be allowed to take college courses. Education can be a useful tool in rehabilitating the lives of prison inmates (Chen 2015). Allowing the incarcerated population to learn college courses can help them to be positively integrated into society. In addition, it helps to reduce recidivism.

Offering college courses to inmates helps to lower cases of recidivism. Prison inmates are less likely to re-offend once released from prisons if they are well educated (Berman 2015). About 7 out of every 10 former prisoners are likely to re-offend (Institute for Higher Education Policy 2011). Educating the prison inmates reduces recidivism by 40% thus helping to rehabilitate inmates (Chen 2015). Education helps inmates to become productive in society through opening doors to decent employment. Employability of educated inmates increases by 13% once released back into society.

Investment in the education of inmates also helps to save financial resources used to run prisons (Rand Corporation 2013). The United States spends more than $52 billion per year to meet the costs of incarceration for 2.3 million inmates. However, the government can save a lot of money by educating inmates. Education programs help to lower incarceration expenses by about $4 or $5 three years for every 1$ spent in educating them after the release from prisons.

College education also helps to instill responsibility. Education helps to improve communication skills and behavior of inmates. In 2011, a research study conducted on female inmates at Bedford Hill correctional facility in New York showed that there was an improvement in family relationships due to prison education (Chen 2015). The education they received helped to rehabilitate and turn them into academic role models.


            Provision of a college education to prison inmates offers numerous benefits to society. It helps to lower cases of recidivism and increases the employability of former prison inmates. In addition, college education helps to rehabilitate the prison inmates thus effectively integrating them back into society.


Berman R. (2015). The Obama administration’s plan to offer Pell grants to inmates could test conservative support for criminal-justice reform. The Atlantic.

Retrieved from:

Chen M. (2015). Prison Education Reduces Recidivism by Over 40 Percent. Why Aren’t We Funding More of It?  The Nation. Retrieved from:

Institute for Higher Education Policy (2011). Educating the Nation’s Prison Population May Spur Future Economic Growth and Reduce Public Expenses. Retrieved from:

Rand Corporation (2013). Education and Vocational Training in Prisons Reduces Recidivism, Improves Job Outlook. Retrieved from:

August 21, 2023




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