Our Purpose

Our goal at PrisonEducation.com is to increase education in prisons because it is proven to reduce recidivism, it is better for our economy, and it is better for our families and our community overall.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 95% of prisoners are one day released from correctional custody. This amounts to around 700,000 prisoners being released onto our streets and into our communities each and every year.

Click on the infographic to the right to learn more about the many benefits of Prison Education.

Due to the large numbers, and percentage, of prisoners currently and eventually being released from correctional custody, ensuring these ex-offenders get employed and become contributing members of society is a critical issue. The well-being of communities depends greatly upon the reformation of character – or lack of reformation – that occurs while the offender is in prison.

As such, prison education becomes a critical aspect of our country’s economic stability, the safety of our communities, and a higher quality of life for all law-abiding citizens.

On this page, we have highlighted some of the main reasons for prison education. To see more information and statistics on prisoner recidivism, prisoner health and mental illness, and prisoner substance abuse, visit our Prisoner Facts page. Learn more great facts about Prisoner Education and the pilot Pell Grants program, or check out some of these great books on these and related topics.

Media can visit our Media FAQ page for quick facts and copyorEmail our Publicist to book an interview.

The economic case for educating prisoners

The economic case for prison education.

The economic case for Prison Education is clear. American taxpayers spend $70 Billion per year providing shelter, healthcare, social services, and administrative services to prisoners.

By educating just 10-30% of the prison population, we could not only save $60 Billion per year, but significantly fewer prisoners would return to jail, making our communities safer and creating contributing taxpayers to society.

To find out more about how educating prisoners helps the American economy, click on our infographic to the left.

the human case for prison education: parents in prison

The human case for educating prisoners

Many of the prisoners in American facilities are parents. In fact, since 1991, the number of children with a mother in prison has more than doubled, up 122%. The number of children with a father in prison has grown by 76%.

About half of these parents were the main income earners for their children before going to prison, resulting in more single-parent households, damaged family ties, and exacerbating chronic childhood poverty.

Not only is it an unfortunate situation, but it’s a hefty price for taxpayers too, as they have to pay for the economic, mental health, medical, and child welfare services for incarcerated parents’ children.

To learn more about how educating prisoners affects our homes, our families, and our communities, click on the infographic to the right, visit our Prisoner Facts page, or check out some great books on the topic.


National Association of State Budget Officers, Fiscal Year 1988 State Expenditure Report, p. 71 (Washington, DC: National Association of State Budget Officers, 1989).

National Association of State Budget Officers, Fiscal Year 2008 State Expenditure Report, p. 54 (Washington, DC: National Association of State Budget Officers, 2009).


Public Safety Performance Project, Public Safety, Public Spending: Forecasting America’s Prison Population 2007-2011 (Washington, DC: Public Safety Performance Project, The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2007).

Patrick A. Langan and David J. Levin, Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1994, NCJ 193427 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2002).

Timothy A. Hughes, Doris James Wilson, and Allen J. Beck, Trends in State Parole, 1990-2000, NCJ 184735 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2001).

Adam Gelb, Presentation at the National Summit on Justice Reinvestment (Washington, DC, January 27, 2010).

C. Uggen and J. Staff, “Work as a Turning Point for Criminal Offenders,” in J.L. Krienert and M.S. Fleisher (eds.), Crime & Employment: Critical Issues in Crime Reduction for Corrections (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2004).


Op. cit., 5.

L.E. Glaze and T.P. Bonczar, Probation and Parole in the United States, 2010, NCJ 231674 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2011).

Op. cit., 5.

H. Holzer, S. Raphael, and M. Stoll, Employment Barriers Facing Ex-Offenders (Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2003).

L.E. Glaze and L.M. Maruschak, Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children, NCJ 222984 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2008).

C. Mumola, Incarcerated Parents and Their Children (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2004)

S.D. Phillips, A. Erkanli, G.P. Keeler, E.J. Costello, and A. Angold, “Disentangling the Risks: Parent Criminal Justice Involvement and Children’s Exposure to Family Risks,” Criminology and Public Policy, 2006.

Op. cit., 1.


L. Maruschak, Medical Problems of Prisoners (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2008).

The Council of State Governments Justice Center, Frequently Asked Questions: Employment and Education, National Reentry Resource Center.

Women’s Prison Association, WPA Focus on Women & Justice: Barriers to Reentry, Women’s Prison Association, 2003.

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, H.R. 3355, ENR, 103d Cong. (1993).

Federal Interagency Reentry Council, Reentry Myth Buster: On TANF Benefits, Federal Interagency Reentry Council, 2010.

Legal Action Center, Opting Out of Federal Ban on TANF and Food Stamps.

L. Lapidus, N. Luthra, A. Verma, D. Small, P. Allard, and K. Levingston, Caught in the Net: The Impact of Drug Policies on Women and Families, American Civil Liberties Union, Break the Chains: Communities of Color and the War on Drugs, and the Brennan Center at NYU Law School, 2005.

Note: PrisonEducation.com extends a special thank you to the Justice Center and the Council of State Governments for granting permission to use some of their data collation and documentation in the creation of this website.