A higher purpose for higher education in prison
Eliminating college education for prison inmates is an easy enough move to make, politically speaking. But does it make sense for the taxpaying public?
Not when history shows that convicts who take classes are substantially less likely to wind up back behind bars once they’re released.
The benefits appear to apply to study of the liberal arts as well as vocational training. But Gov. Mitch Daniels wants the emphasis put on the latter area, with the rationale that it will lead to more jobs — certainly a key factor in staying free.
Unfortunately, he and the Indiana General Assembly have set up a fight over scraps when there is a very large hunger waiting to be satisfied.
At the same time Daniels, corrections officials and legislative leaders are talking about the need to reduce the burgeoning and financially unsustainable prison population, the modest $9 million that had been set aside for college financial aid for inmates has been entirely eliminated from the new two-year state budget.