Pirates and Prisoners: Scurvy, Beriberi, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons

It was centuries ago when sailors at sea had to worry about great dangers, spending many months and years on the ocean.  The hazards of adverse weather, and rudimentary ship-building technologies.  No access to medicine or doctors, and poor hygiene.  Pirates! For the most part, though, the biggest barrier to the sailor’s health was diet. 

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What Are Prison Education, Inmate Education, and Correctional Education?

By Christopher Zoukis

Prison education, inmate education, and correctional education are, depending on whom you ask, essentially the same concept.  They comprise the field of educating those in prisons or jails.  The difference in nomenclature has to do with which group a person belongs to, based on preference more than substance.  Those incarcerated in a correctional setting tend to refer to their learning as prison education, while regular staff prison educators tend to refer to the education they provide as being inmate education.  Academics, and those who think of education in prison as a method of correction, tend to view this sort of education — an education provided to prison inmates — as correctional education. Photo courtesy

Regardless of what it is called — prison education, inmate education, or correctional education — this field is concerned with providing an education to those in jails and prisons.  And this education can take on a variety of forms.  At its most basic, prison education, inmate education, and correctional education revolve around basic literacy.  This is comprised of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies, all at the most basic levels since inmates tend to have lower levels of prior academic achievement than those in general society.  And at its most advanced level, prison education consists of college-level studies.  Both basic literacy and college education, and all levels in between, are covered in this article.

GED: The Most Basic Form of Prison Education

Many prison systems call their literacy programs “GED programs,” since GED programs are far more common than high school diploma programs in the correctional setting.  For those not in the prison education industry, high school diploma programs are programs where inmates take actual high school courses and earn a high school diploma upon program completion.  This means up to 4 or 5 years of courses, depending upon the rate of course completion.  GED programs, on the other hand, have to do with earning a General Equivalency Diploma (GED).  While this requires incarcerated students to take several classes (depending upon their current level of academic ability), it can be done at a much faster rate than it would take to earn a traditional high school diploma.  I’ve known inmate students who never graduated from high school to earn a GED without requiring any classroom time.  Other prisoner-students have been known to rack up hundreds, if not over a thousand, hours of classroom time and still require more instruction.  While this mode of inmate education tends to be a slow one, it is very beneficial to all involved.

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