The Effects of Private Prison Confinement in Minnesota on Offender Recidivism

By Prison Legal News

The Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) recently completed an evaluation of the effects of private prison confinement on offender recidivism. The evaluation assessed the impact of confinement at the Prairie Correctional Facility (PCF) in Appleton, Minnesota on recidivism among 3,532 offenders released between 2007 and 2009. The average follow-up period for the offenders in this study was 2.5 years.

Key Findings

• Private prison confinement was associated with a greater risk of recidivism in all 20 Cox regression models that were estimated. This association was statistically significant in 8 of the 20 models.

• All five private prison measures examined in this study significantly increased the risk of reconviction.

• Three private prison measures significantly increased the risk of rearrest.

• None of the private prison variables had an impact on either reincarceration measure (new offense and technical violation revocation).

• The findings suggest that the PCF produced slightly worse recidivism outcomes among the healthiest and best-behaved prisoners for the same amount of money. The recidivism results may be due to fewer visitation and rehabilitative programming opportunities for offenders confined at PCF.

Prior to 2010, when prison population growth created shortages in prison beds at state facilities, the DOC frequently housed some of its prisoners at the PCF. The facility, which opened in 1996, once held as many as 1,200 Minnesota state prisoners. Operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a private prison company, the PCF closed in February 2010 due, in part, to slowed growth in Minnesota’s prison population, which minimized the need to transfer offenders to non-DOC facilities.

Read More »

What is Distance Learning?

By Christopher Zoukis  Image courtesy / Distance Learning Image

Distance learning refers to any type of learning that is conducted via a distance, regardless of how the course materials are conveyed.  Many groups can benefit from these sorts of courses.  Such programs can make education accessible to immobilized groups, they can help accelerate existing studies, and they can also allow busy professionals to learn something new in their spare time.  Distance education is a blessing to many diverse groups; the students just have to understand how it works and how to best engage in such studies.

What are the Different Types of Distance Learning?

Distance learning is just as diverse and expansive as traditional in-classroom education.  At the highest levels of study, students can earn graduate and undergraduate college degrees.  High school diploma and career training programs are also a mainstay in this industry.  So, too, are both free and fee-based Bible studies.

Prisoners are one of the major groups that thrive on distance learning since this is often their only mechanism to further an education beyond earning a GED in a prison’s education department.  Incarcerated students often engage in correspondence paralegal courses, writing courses, and even courses on how to become a veterinarian assistant.  The same is true with those outside of prison.

Read More »