How is Education Perceived on the Inside?: A Preliminary Study of Adult Males in a Correctional Setting

How is Education Perceived on the Inside?: A Preliminary Study of Adult Males in a Correctional Setting

Moeller, Michelle

Abstract

This study explores a group of inmates’ perceptions of their correctional education and environment based on Fetterman’s 1994 idea of empowerment evaluation. A group of 16 male inmates were randomly selected from CED and ABE courses in a high minimum correctional facility in Illinois. A self-administered questionnaire included 5 topics: introductory background information, curriculum, classroom interaction, classroom environment, and attitudes toward school. Results of the study suggest that students understand the connection between education and success in life. Students prefer that reading and math be the focus of study in their classroom but also that other courses not be left out of the curriculum. Suggested areas of improvement include larger classrooms, more concentrated time in specific courses, and more time to prepare for the TABE exam.

Education has been attributed as one of the factors that helps reduce the recidivism rate among the nation’s inmate population (Illinois Department of Corrections [IDOC], 2000a). At first, this idea does not seem to be of pressing importance, until one considers the following dismal facts. It has been reported that over 50 percent of the offenders released from institutions each year will return within three years (U.S. Department of justice [USDOJ], 1997). Nationally, in 2000, there were 6.4 million U.S. adults under some form of correctional supervision, and the incarcerated population has grown an average of 5.3% annually between 1990 and 2000 (Maguire and Pastore, 2001). In Illinois, the prison population increased from 27,295 in 1990 to 44, 819 in 2000 (IDOC, 2000b). The amount of money spent on correctional facilities has been staggering and continues to grow. The Illinois Department of Corrections fiscal year 2002 expenditures were 1.206 billion dollars (IDOC, 2002a) and it was estimated to cost approximately $23, 812 per inmate per year (IDOC, 2002b). In an effort to slow, deter, and reverse this growing trend, funding for education programs for inmates has increased. Increased funding has been implemented because research has shown that although literacy does not guarantee a better life outside prison walls, illiteracy guarantees a higher recidivism rate (USDOJ, 1997). With these facts in mind, continual improvement of the educational system within correctional facilities is of pressing importance.

The purpose of this study was to assess a group of inmates’ attitudes of their correctional educational courses and environment. The main research question for this study was, “What suggestions do adult students in correctional facilities have for improving the prison education system in which they participate”? The focus of this study was based on Fetterman’s (1994) idea of empowerment evaluation. Fetterman supported and encouraged evaluators and social scientists to “give voice to the people they work with and bring their concerns to policy brokers” (Fetterman, 1994, p.1). To give additional substance to his idea of empowerment evaluation, Fetterman suggested that individuals and groups of people must be empowered to become changemakers and solve their own problems. Finally, Fetterman suggested that improvement of a situation will occur when the participant’s perspective is understood as accurately and honestly as possible. Following these suggestions, this study was completed with inmate students as the “voice”, or the source of data for the study.

It is hoped that the information gathered from this study can be used to assist correctional administrators and educators in their efforts to improve the educational system in the Illinois Department of Corrections’ schools. In addition, some of the information resulting from this study may prove helpful in the construction, planning, and scheduling of future correctional education facilities.

Review of the Literature

Adult Correctional Education

Several sources helped to shape and guide this study. One of the first areas explored for the development of this project was adult correctional education. After forming the research question, and therefore establishing a base of study, a deeper look into the history and composition of adult correctional education was necessary. Then, to conclude the review of literature on adult correctional education, this study looked for clarification of the notion that education contributes to a reduction in the recidivism rate.

The history of correctional education emphasizes its importance. More than 200 years ago, in 1789, the first recorded instruction in a U.S. prison took place in Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Jail (Gehring, 1995). For approximately the first one hundred years, clergymen were the instructors, with the intent of education being to enable inmates to read the Bible. Since then, education of incarcerated individuals has expanded to every state in the United States (U.S. Department of Education [USDOE], 1996), and now includes a curriculum that covers Adult Basic Education, GED, Life Skills, Special Education, English as a Second Language, College, and Vocational courses. In addition, instructors are no longer clergymen, but state certified educators. The Correctional Education Association (CEA) founded in 1930, and other organizations, publish journals and help reaffirm the importance of correctional education. Also, the basic human understanding that an education is a person’s link to a better life is another cause of this expansion and continued support. Tying this idea to the correctional setting is the fact that a lack of education is related to, but does not cause, crime (Cehring, 2000a).

Not only has correctional education spread into all 50 states over its 200-year history, it has also gained the interest of numerous scholars who continually analyze the components of adult correctional education. A common consensus has been that adult education and literacy training for inmates should include the core basic skills of reading, writing, calculating, speaking, listening, and problem solving (USDOJ, 1997). With this in mind, the Illinois Department of Corrections School District developed a mission statement that reads: It is the mission of the Corrections School District to enhance the quality and scope of education for inmates and juveniles within the Department of Corrections consistent with age, commitments, and sentence by ensuring that the state and federal resources are appropriately used in aiding committed persons to restore themselves to constructive and law-abiding lives in the community. (IDOC, 2000a, p. ii)

Another important factor to consider when looking at adult correctional education is, although similar in some aspects, adult education and child education differ in many respects. In his article on pedagogy and andragogy, Cehring (2000b) outlined the differences between adult and child education, and discussed the implications of these differences as relating to adult correctional education. Gehring explained that adults come to class with a totally different mind set than children. Adults have a better understanding of the need for an education because their life experiences have probably brought them to some form of independence and responsibility. Therefore, they see the urgency of an education. Also, because of their adult status, adult students require specific skills, and prefer to be an active part of their education. Gehring further stated that the above mentioned ideas lead to the conclusion that correctional education should be individualized and non-compulsory. Finally, according to the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, correctional education should focus not only on the basics, but also on job and life skills to enhance opportunities for employment and fulfilling individual potential (USDOJ, 1997).

In order to gain a better understanding of the history and the composition of correctional education, it was necessary to gain a better understanding of the link between education and the recidivism rate. In general, adult correctional education programs have been deemed necessary in the battle against crime, but caution and skepticism are advised when analyzing the numerous reports concerning education’s link to reduced recidivism rates. Some, like Warner (2000), reported that although education is a basic human right and need, education should not be judged by recidivism rates. Warner stated that while education programs may be beneficial, there are too many other events of prison life that work in direct opposition to education. A few of these are abuse by other prisoners, humiliation and degradation by staff, inhumane conditions, further alienation from society, and barriers to work and housing upon release. In another study, Cecil, Drapkin, Hickman, and Mackenzie (2000) conducted a thorough analysis and evaluation of numerous education/recidivism studies. In this extensive study, the researchers used the Maryland Scale of Scientific Rigor, one that provided consistent assessment and clear presentation of the quality of empirical research. Through the use of this scale, they were able to eliminate those studies found to be methodologically weak and greatly lacking in scientific rigor. Of the twelve studies that passed the eligibility criteria, eight showed that education did appear to have a positive impact on lowering the recidivism rate. They also noted that inmates who completed education programs and those that acquired higher levels of education had the lowest recidivism rates.

This same theme was reported by Brown, Forrester, Hull, Jobe, and McCullen (2000). Their report cited statistics from a study of the Virginia Department of Corrections Education program that indicated a positive impact of education on the recidivism rate. The authors reported a recidivism rate of 49.04% for inmates who had no educational programming while incarcerated compared to a 19.1% recidivism rate for inmates who had completed an academic program while incarcerated.

With the idea that adult correctional education is a valuable program and deserving of study, as evident by its history, components, and link to reduced recidivism discussed above, a deeper understanding of school improvement was necessary. The following section includes a discussion of school improvement issues.

School Improvement

Since the purpose of this study was to focus on students’ suggestions for school improvement, the review of literature for this section begins with a general look at the components of school improvement, and then examines the area of teaching and learning. Reading what researchers and other school personnel have found that makes a successful learning environment helped create more sound and well-founded questions for the student questionnaire that was used in this study.

The term “school improvement” has come to be known as the process of analyzing one’s school in order to locate areas in which improvement may be implemented. According to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE, 1998), this process should start with a committee that explores ideas concerning their school. It was suggested that the four basic questions the committee should begin with are, “Where are we?”, Where do we want to go?”, “How will we get there?”, and “How will we know when we’ve arrived?” (p. 3). The committee should also focus on what information can be gathered about teaching and learning, about student progress and achievement, and about the learning community. To continue the process, surveys of staff, students, administrators, and the community should be conducted. Once data is collected, it can be analyzed, and suggestions for improvement can be made.

In addition, the Digest of School Improvement Ideas (1997) published by the ISBE, contains various school improvement plans. One of these plans, the Deming Continuous Improvement Process, suggested that improvement comes from the continuous efforts of teachers working together with students and the school community. The Deming plan also emphasized the belief that students must learn how to set learning goals, how to be more effective in their schoolwork, and how to assess the quality of their work. This concept suits the adult population of this research project, as adult learners tend to want to be more in control of their education. Another plan included in the Digest of School Improvement Ideas that contained applicable information was the Effective Schools Process. According to the Effective Schools Process, an effective school is one that works to achieve or maintain several goals. One goal is that an effective school has an orderly, purposeful, businesslike atmosphere. The classroom environment has to be safe and inviting. A second goal for effective schools is that teachers and students must have access to appropriate tools for learning. And, a third goal is that the all too seemingly congested instruction time must focus on areas that are valued the most. One last source of applicable information from the Digest of School Improvement Ideas was a report from the National Alliance. The National Alliance supported the notion that instruction programs should develop and implement a comprehensive school-to-work transition system.

In addition to the information received from the ISBE sources discussed above, several other sources provided further relevant information for this research project. This additional information is organized into four areas of teaching and learning: student characteristics, instructional strategies, supports to learning, and classroom environment.

Generally, the adult correctional population has been poor, unskilled, unemployed or underemployed. About 49% of offenders have not completed high school or the GED, compared to approximately 24% of the general population (Gathright, 1999). Furthermore, a high percentage of correctional education students have experienced learning difficulties. Forty percent of adult and youthful offenders have been estimated to have handicaps, compared to an estimated 10.76% of their non-incarcerated peers (Feller, Kastner, a Whichard, 2000). With these kinds of difficulties, it comes as no surprise that the majority of correctional education students have a pervasive history of negative educational experiences (Clements & McKee, 2000). Furthermore, in addition to the high proportion of learning disabilities, the prison, unlike society, has a greater proportion of minorities, creating a highly multiethnic and multicultural population (Gathright, 1999).

Analyzing these student characteristics naturally leads to the next area of teaching and learning, that of instructional strategies. Many reports, such as the report on individualized instruction in corrections by Clements and McKee (2000), suggested that the inclusion of individualized instruction is necessary for such a diverse and academically deficient group. Alamprese (1998) agreed with the importance of individualized instruction, but added that it should not be the only type of instruction. Since adults also need to develop or improve their sense of teamwork and shared responsibility, cooperative learning activities should be included in the instructional planning. Another instructional strategy that both of the above mentioned reports recommended was providing immediate corrective feedback. This helps reduce the amount of frustration associated with schoolwork that is all too common for the typical adult correctional education student. Moreover, Gathright (1999) has suggested that with the large majority of students displaying a lack of socially acceptable behaviors, instruction should include not only academics, but also life skills. He explained his idea by stating that students need to be instructed in such life skills areas as creative problem-solving, values and concerns for others, non-aggressive ways to meet their needs, interpersonal conflict resolutions, and anger management. These cooperative and collaborative skills will assist the students in all aspects of life, including the job market.

Various supports to learning is the third area of teaching and learning that relates to this research project. Two of the most widely recommended supports to learning are peer educators, or tutors, and computers. In his article on the correctional education program of the Maryland State Department of Education, Steurer (2000) explained how invaluable the Peer Tutoring program was to the correctional education programs. This idea of recruiting academically eligible inmates to tutor fellow inmates in need of educational assistance has spread to nearly every state, because of its highly acknowledged success. As many of the students have some kind of learning disability or are at a low level academically, they therefore require individualized attention because they are unable to work independently. Since teachers are unable to spend the necessary amount of time with each student, teacher’s aides, or tutors, have helped alleviate this problem. Besides tutors, computers have been found to be a great support to learning.

Winters (2000) summarized the advantages computers offer to the classroom and to the students by stating that computers are non-judgmental, have limitless patience, give continuous feedback and reinforcement, allow the student to learn at their own pace, encourage individualized instruction, and provide regular drill and practice of academic skills. Adding support, but also some precautions, to Winters’s promotion of computers in the correctional classrooms, was an experimental study by Batchelder and Rachal (2000). In their study they concluded that computers should not be eyed as possible replacements for teachers, but as highly beneficial supports to learning. Batchelder and Rachal stated that computer-assisted instruction will not produce the intended advancements in achievement if used in the absence of active teacher enthusiasm and support. They also noted the quality of the software utilized plays a vital role in the benefits of computer-assisted instruction.

The fourth area of teaching and learning that relates to this research project is the classroom environment. In his article on classroom environments, Stanton (1999) reported that research links student achievement and behavior to the physical conditions of school buildings. Good facilities with appropriate lighting, ventilation, heating/cooling, and noise levels supported a strong academic program. The lack of these types of appropriate physical conditions could affect learning negatively. Gehring (2000b) furthered this idea and related it to the importance of the physical environment with regard to adult learners. he stated that the physical environment should be one in which adults feel at ease. The furnishings and equipment should be adult-sized and comfortable, and classroom decorations should not be childish.

Summary of Prior Research

This review of literature began with a brief glimpse at the long history of correctional education and continued with an overview of the composition of correctional education, and correctional education’s link to lower recidivism rates. By presenting information on the more than 200 year history of correctional education, and on the many studies have concluded that the recidivism rate is inversely related to the level of education inmates obtain while incarcerated, this section of the review of literature provided support for the idea of continuing and, in turn, improving the education system in adult correctional facilities. The review of literature on School Improvement rendered clear ideas for the development of sound questions for the research instrument of this study, the inmate student questionnaire. Ideas gained from the literature on school improvement and on adult prison populations led to the development of the five topics explored in the questionnaire. Similarly, the various school improvement plans were reviewed and used to help shape the various questions.

Methods

Participants

The participants of this research project were a sample of the inmate student population (50 GED and 90 ABE students) at a high minimum security correctional center in Illinois. After obtaining a list of students from each of the eight academic classes, a table of random numbers was used for the selection of the participants. Two inmate students were randomly selected from each of the eight academic classes at the institution, for a total of 16 participants. Ten of the subjects were selected from the five Adult Basic Education classes (academic levels range between zero and sixth grade). The six remaining subjects were selected from the GED classes (academic levels range between 6 and 12.9 grade equivalency). All inmates were adult males, 18 years or older.

Instrument

The intent of this study was to find key areas for improvement in the correctional education system from the inmates’ perspective. The self-administered questionnaire included five topics: introductory background information, curriculum, classroom interaction, classroom environment, and attitudes toward school (see Appendix A). The first four questions were multiple choice, followed by two questions that required students to complete rating scales. These were followed by 10 open-ended questions, which were asked with the intent of collecting information on the classroom environment and the students’ attitudes toward school. Open-ended questions one and two focused on their classroom environment, and questions three through ten focused on their attitudes toward school. The students were allowed to take as much time as they needed to fill out the questionnaire and due to the students’ academic levels, assistance was available.

Results and Discussion

The questionnaire produced quantitative and qualitative data. The results indicated that students were satisfied as they placed importance on the current educational system, but they had suggestions for improvement.

The quantitative data, gathered from the questionnaire, indicated students’ background information, curriculum preferences, and classroom interaction preferences. Analysis of Questions 1, 2, 3, and 4 revealed some interesting facts about the participants. First, 50% of the participants had a year or less remaining on their prison sentence, and 25% had more than two years. About 63% of the 16 participants had been in the classroom for a relatively short time, zero to six months, compared to approximately 37% who had attended class for more than six months. Half of the students in this study were less than 30 years old. There was an interesting correlation between age and class level. Results indicated that 60% (six out of 10) of the ABE students were 30 years or older, compared to 33% (two out of six) of the CED students who were 30 years or older. It is important to keep in mind that this relationship between age and educational level was based on a sample of 16 students, and may not hold true for the general population.

Course Subjects

Item five of the questionnaire had a series of areas for students to categorize as either “very important”, “somewhat important”, or “of little importance”. Table 1 is a presentation of the results.

It is clear from this table that Reading and Math were the two subjects students deemed the most important for their education. They may have felt this way because the test that places and allows a student to be promoted to higher academic level classes, the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education), is composed of a reading section and two math sections. Interestingly, Listening, Spelling, Writing, and Grammar, were judged more important than History and Science. Rationale for this could be that letter writing and telephone conversations are the most common forms of communication inmates have with their friends and family, and therefore find the Language Arts of higher importance.

As Table 1 indicates, Life Skills was ranked as least important. Even so, only four participants ranked it as “of little importance” and 10 of them ranked it as “very important”. As most correctional education teachers have discussed during casual conversations, their students tell them that they want Life Skills, but want it to be a separate class, so that it does not cut into their academic class time. Finally, the most general statement, and also the most flattering to the current education curriculum, was that each course subject received the majority of votes in the “very important” category. One participant who ranked all subjects as “very important” added a comment to his questionnaire just below item five that perhaps sums up this generalization: “Everything that enhances my knowledge is very important to my life!”

Classroom Interactions

Item six allowed participants to rate various classroom resources according to their helpfulness. The students ranked each resource as either “very helpful”, “somewhat helpful”, “not helpful”, or “not available”. The results are presented in Table 2, with items listed in order of highest agreement.

Six out of the eight participants, who had access to computers, indicated that computers were very helpful. In addition, five of the 10 participants who had access to cassette tapes deemed them very helpful. It is interesting to note that for each resource that was available, the majority of students considered them to be “very helpful”. Receiving the largest number of “very helpful” responses were textbooks, dictionaries, and worksheets, which are resources that were available in every class. Table 2 also shows teachers’ aides, the library, and tutoring classes very helpful to students.

After analyzing the quantitative data, several important conclusions can be made. In general, the participants indicated that all courses taught in their classrooms were of high importance to them. This would suggest that the current curriculum was viewed as very satisfactory. However, in the case of the curriculum, the data suggests that students place a higher priority on reading and math, but certainly not at the expense of the other subjects. Since Life Skills received the most “of little importance” ratings, this may suggest that it would be better to teach Life Skills in a separate class. In addition, the various classroom resources that were available to students were deemed very helpful. This would suggest that these resources are appropriate for adult learners, and not offensive or childlike. Finally, the “very helpful” status of computers may suggest that they should be made available to all students in all classes.

Open-ended Data

Open-ended questions one and two asked how students felt about their classroom environment. Fifteen of the 16 participants indicated that the classroom was suitable to learning. Nine of the 15 who were comfortable with the classroom said it was because of their teacher and the help they received from him or her. Examples of this included comments such as: “My teacher helps me step by step. Anything 1 have a problem with, she helps me”, and “We have a very capable teacher”. The remaining 6 students included comments such as, “It’s a quiet learning place” and “It’s a nice, suitable place to learn”. The one participant who said the classroom was not suitable to learning explained the reason was because “the room is so small, I feel like I’m in a can”.

Even though 15 of the 16 students felt the classroom was suitable to learning, eight of the participants offered suggestions on what would make the classroom more suitable to learning. Three participants suggested that “more room” was needed. Three other participants suggested “more time” and “full time” in the classroom would make it more suitable to learning, and two stated that “more books and computers” were needed. Two students recommended “only allowing students who really want to learn in the classroom”. When asked what made them feel unsafe in the classroom, 14 of the participants said “nothing”, but one student said “the problems you have with others that you have to deal with”.

Interview questions three through 10 dealt with students’ attitudes toward school. In answer to question three, what or who motivates you to go to school, nine students replied that they are self-motivated, and seven listed family, teacher, or friends as their motivator. Two participants added that the idea of a better future was a motivator. Interview question four asked students whether or not they got enough class time between testing to feel confident that they would raise their TABE score. Eleven replied “yes”, four said “no”, and one, who had not tested yet, was not sure. Since a common complaint from students has been that they need more time to prepare for the test, this response was surprising. The results, however, lend support to the testing schedule that has been followed.

Interview questions five, six, and seven yielded similar responses, all of which indicated that the students wanted to continue their education. When asked about their educational goals, 12 participants stated they wanted to “get a GED” and “keep learning”, and four replied with a long-term goal of being trained for a career. When asked why they attend class, 15 of the 16 reiterated the same response they had to question five of furthering their education. They expressed this with such statements as “to get a GED and then on to college”, “to get my GED and be ready for the world”, and “to educate myself to the highest”. No one said they attended “because they had to”. And, once again, furthering their education accounted for 15 of the 16 responses to the question of, “What do you plan to do when you complete your current class.” What they liked most about their class was the focus of open-ended question eight. The “teacher’s help” was the most common answer, and the next most common was simply “learning”. When asked what they liked the least about class, question nine, seven students said “nothing”, five said “loud students” and “people that don’t want to learn”, three noted “there’s not enough time or days”, and one student stated that class was “sometimes boring”. Question 10 asked if the student was receiving Educational Good Conduct Credit. Eight responded “yes” and eight responded “no”.

Almost all students considered their classrooms safe and suitable to learning, and they had a positive attitude toward school. This approval could be suggestive of an education system that works well and is appreciated. However, no education system is beyond improvement. According to the qualitative data, the most common suggestions for improvement were more space, more class time, more computer access, and eliminate from the classroom any students who are not serious about learning.

Limitations

At the time of the questionnaire distribution, the participants, along with all others involved with the School District, had just recently been informed of the elimination of the college and vocational programs at correctional facilities. The elimination was part of the state budget cuts, and caused much concern among staff and students that the ABE and GED programs would be eliminated. This may have been the case for the surprisingly serious attitude with which the participants of this study completed the questionnaire.

One of the most important limitations of this study was the small sample size. Even though the subjects were randomly selected, and all agreed to participate once selected, the generalizability of this study is limited. However, inmates did suggest some important improvements for the education program at this facility that may offer insights for programs at other facilities. In addition, it offers suggestions for future research.

Implications for Future Research

During the completion of this project, ideas for further research continually came to mind. Implementing this same questionnaire with a larger subject sample, in another minimum prison facility, as well as in medium and maximum facilities, may result in more suggestions for improvement in the various institutions. It would also be interesting to see whether or not students of higher level security prisons regard their education with as much importance as did the students of this study.

Another offshoot of this study would be to research the effects an inmate’s more positive attitude toward school has on his children. As presented in the Literature Review, statistics indicate that most inmates have a history of negative school experiences, which results in negative attitudes toward school. Perhaps, through the more positive experiences gained while participating in an education program while in prison, the inmate’s negative attitude can be replaced by a more positive attitude. An optimistic view of the effects of this change in school attitude is that this positive attitude would radiate to the inmates’ children. This, in turn, may help prevent future public school dropouts. A study that could tie prison education to a decrease in public education drop-outs would provide an incredible boost to the continued support and improvement of the correctional education system.

Conclusion

As the results of this study suggest, students at this facility understand the connection between education and success in life. With this in mind, maintaining, as well as improving, prison education programs may prove to be one of the most efficient and sensible ways to “rehabilitate” inmates. Since the State of Illinois is in the process of making major budget cuts, efforts to maintain the correctional education system are of vital importance.

By expressing great satisfaction with their current prison education program, the student participants of this research project have indicated that educators and administration are doing well in their jobs. The students who participated in this study sent a strong message that they prefer reading and math be the focus of education in the classroom, that the other language arts, history, science, and life skills should not be left out of the curriculum. In addition, students made a strong appeal to keep the current classroom resources such as textbooks, dictionaries, worksheets, and teacher’s aides, but also suggested an increase in the availability and use of computers in the classrooms.

As previously mentioned in the Literature Review, learning disabilities are much more prevalent among inmate populations than they are among the general population. This fact, and the large majority of responses from this study that stated that teachers and the one-on-one help they provided were the reasons why so many students considered their classroom suitable for learning, suggests that class sizes are appropriate, and should not be increased. Several students who stated that “more room” was needed gives further support to limiting class sizes to their current numbers.

In conclusion, since the teacher’s assistance is viewed by most students as a vital key to their success in learning, limiting the amount of time teachers are out of the classroom working on “other” non-academic duties would most likely prove beneficial to the academic success rate of the students. Various students bolstered this recommendation by stating that “there is not enough time or days” in class.

References

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Batchelder, J. S. a Rachal, J. R. (2000) Effects of a computer-assisted-instruction program in a prison setting: An experimental study. Journal of Correctional Education, 57, 324-332.

Brown, J., Forrester, S., Hull, K. A., Jobe, D., a McCulIen, C. (2000). Analysis of recidivism rates for participants of the academic/vocational/transition education programs offered by the Virginia department of correctional education. Journal of Correctional Education, 57, 256-261.

Cecil, D. K., Drapkin, D. A., Hickman, L. J, & Mackenzie, D. L. (2000). The effectiveness of adult basic education and life-skills programs in reducing recidivism: A review and assessment of the research. Journal of Correctional Education, 51, 207-226.

Clements, C. B., & McKee, J. M. (2000). The challenge of individualized instruction in corrections. Journal of Correctional Education, 51, 270-281.

Feller, R. W., Kastner, R., a Whichard, J. A. (2000). The incidence of scotopic sensitivity syndrome in Colorado inmates. Journal of Correctional Education, 57, 294-299.

Fetterman, D. M., (1994). Empowerment evaluation. Evaluation Practice, 15, 1-15. Gathright, G. (1999). Conflict management in prisons: An educator’s perspective. Journal of Correctional Education, 50,142-147.

Gehring, T. (1995). Characteristics of correctional instruction. Journal of Correctional Education, 46, 52-59.

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Steurer, S. (2000). Best practices: The correctional education program, Maryland state department of education. Journal of Correctional Education, 57, 165 – 167.

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Warner, K. (2000, Spring). Should we judge education by recidivism rates? Correctional Education Association News and Notes, 22, 8-9.

Winters, C. (2000). Promising practices in adult correctional education. Journal of Correctional Education, 51, 312-314.

Biographical Sketches

Michelle Moeller is the Acting Education Facility Administrator for School District #425 and a graduate of the Educational Leadership Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Previously, Ms. Moeller was a classroom teacher for 6-1/2 years in District #425.

Scott L. Day is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Leadership Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Dr. Day’s background includes a wide range of educational areas as a public school teacher, administrator, and university professor. His research interests include at-risk student learning, leadership issues, and on-line learning. He recently published work on at-risk student learning in a technology setting.

Beverly J. Rivera is an Associate Professor in the Criminal Justice Department at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Her recent research involvements have included work on the evaluation of intensive probation programs for domestic violence offenders and the evaluation of intensive specialized sex offender supervision.

Copyright Correctional Education Association Mar 2004

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