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Higher Education Programs in Prison: What We Know Now and What We Should Focus On Going Forward

RAND CorporationEach year, more than 700,000 incarcerated individuals leave federal and state prisons and return to local communities where they will have to compete with individuals in those communities for jobs. In today’s economy, having a college education is necessary to compete for many jobs, and the stakes for formerly incarcerated people¬†are higher than they are for others. Drawing on past RAND Corporation research on correctional education and focusing on the Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative and the Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education initiative in North Carolina, this publication¬†from RAND summarizes research on the effectiveness of educational programs in helping to reduce recidivism, key lessons learned in providing college programs to incarcerated adults, and remaining issues that need to be addressed, including how to ensure long-term funding of in-prison college programs and the need for an outcomes evaluation to learn from the Experimental Initiative.