So I have been doing my research on the challenges that offenders face when exiting prison. It’s shocking but not really surprising that:
The Urban institute (2007) reports the following information on soon-to-be released inmates from state prisons: 70% are high school dropouts; 50% are functionally illiterate; 19% have less than 8 years of education; and the pre-incarceration employment rates of offenders are lower than the employment rates of the general U.S. Population. Also, only 27% of soon-to-be-released inmates reported they participated in vocational programs and 35% of them reported they participated in educational programs.
Getting prisoners to participate in programs that they need more than anybody takes intrinsic motivation. Nobody can decide for them. One would think that they would jump at the program opportunities that they are offered, but they do not. I wonder why this is. It might be different values? Or it might just be laziness. Or it might be that they plan on going right back to the same thing that they were doing before (breaking the law. Perhaps robbing people). I am going to do more research on why the majority of inmates don’t participate in vocational programs and college programs. I want to find out why this is and how it can change.