What is a Prison Education Program?
Educational opportunities are an important part of reentry into society for those in prison, which is why there are several programs specifically designed to provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to live without re-offending. Among the educational programs in prison available are literacy courses, high school equivalency and college degree programs, career training such as barbering and plumbing, and life skills courses such as anger management or budgeting. In some cases, these programs are provided on-site by outside organizations or volunteers; in others, they can be online distance learning courses offered by external institutes. Regardless of the type chosen, these educational offerings give those in jail the tools to help them when it comes time to transition back into their everyday lives after release from prison.
Common categories of educational offerings include:
- Literacy programs – These programs help incarcerated individuals develop basic reading and writing skills to help them succeed in everyday life. For example, they can learn how to read job applications, fill out forms, and write resumes. These are highly practical skills that can help those that have been incarcerated transition to civilian life.
- High school equivalency and college degree programs – These can help individuals gain the educational credentials needed to obtain employment or enter higher education upon release. For example, many prisons have programs that allow incarcerated individuals to pursue a GED or associate’s degree while behind bars.
- Career training – These courses provide the skills needed to work in various fields, such as barbering or plumbing, and can help them find meaningful and gainful employment upon release. Some of the most common career training programs include carpentry, plumbing, computer repair, and auto mechanics.
- Life skills courses – These courses for prisoners provide tools to manage their emotions, finances, and other aspects of life that can help them better reintegrate into society. Sometimes this category is overlooked, as it does not directly help incarcerated individuals with acquiring a job or educational credentials. However, these types of courses can help incarcerated individuals develop the social and emotional tools needed to build better lives outside of prison and keep them out of trouble in the future.
The statistics surrounding prison education programs are indeed eye-opening. For example, recent studies have shown that educational courses in prison – such as literacy and college preparatory courses – are significantly less likely to be re-incarcerated than those who do not further their studies while behind bars. Even more astounding is the finding that incarcerated individuals with a GED, or another form of correctional education, are 43% less likely to return after release. Clearly, these statistics point to the efficacy of giving access to educational opportunities, as it helps them expand their skill set and provides a better chance at success upon reintegration into society.
Examples of Prison Education Programs
- Correspondence courses in prison: One of the most popular ways to further education in prison is through correspondence courses. These are available for a wide range of topics, from career training and life skills. In addition, many organizations provide incarcerated individuals with the ability to take these courses on their own without requiring any outside assistance. The benefit of these courses is that they allow incarcerated individuals to take classes from the comfort of their cell and at their own pace, making them ideal for those who cannot attend traditional classes.
- GED programs in prison: GED programs are available in many prisons and allow incarcerated individuals to earn a high school equivalency diploma from within the facility. This can be highly beneficial for those who do not have the educational background to obtain a job upon release. GED classes are available both online and in person, depending on the prison.
- College degree programs in prison: Many institutions offer the opportunity to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree while in prison. These courses are typically offered online and provide incarcerated individuals with the opportunity to gain higher education credentials to help them obtain employment or pursue further studies upon release.
- Employment programs in prison: There are a number of employment programs available in prisons that provide the skills needed to secure gainful employment upon release. These often include vocational training in various fields, such as carpentry and computer repair. Additionally, some prisons offer job placement programs that help incarcerated individuals find meaningful employment upon release.
- Rehabilitation programs in prison: Rehabilitation programs are an important part of prison education, as they help incarcerated individuals develop the social and emotional skills needed to reintegrate into society upon release. Examples of these programs include anger management, substance abuse counseling, and mental health care. These courses can provide the tools to better self-regulate and build healthier relationships with others.
These only scratch the surface of the educational and rehabilitation opportunities available in prisons. By offering incarcerated individuals access to these courses, prisons can give them a greater chance at success when they return to society, ultimately helping to reduce recidivism rates. In the end, investing in prison education programs is an investment not only in the incarcerated individuals but in the future of our communities.
What Does Reentry Lifeskills Offer?
Reentry Lifeskills offers innovative approaches to challenge individuals’ self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. Our content does not focus on humiliation but instead focuses on helping people gain self-discovery, develop empathy, and become confident in their own abilities. Through the use of vicarious stories and powerful language like ‘You statements,’ participants can adopt new perspectives and challenge how their subconscious minds perceive right from wrong. Reentry Lifeskills works hard to create material that targets both cognitive domains—allowing participants to identify and recognize thinking errors they may have previously held—as well as affective domains —empowering them to build self-esteem and confidence within themselves. We believe strongly in our philosophy of never shying away from difficult topics and continuously encouraging personal growth in a judgment-free environment. Our content has been designed to enable participants to become more self-aware, develop empathy for others, and ultimately build the skills needed for positive reintegration back into society.
Some of our courses include:
- Anger Management: Participants are taught how to recognize, manage, and express anger in a healthy way. This class focuses on identifying triggers, understanding the underlying causes of anger, and learning how to express it constructively.
- Cognitive Awareness: This course teaches participants how to recognize and challenge the underlying thoughts and beliefs that shape their behavior. It focuses on recognizing old habits, increasing self-awareness, and actively challenging thoughts that may be self-defeating.
- Contentious Relationships: This course provides participants with the tools to develop and maintain healthy relationships. It focuses on understanding communication styles, constructively resolving conflicts, and learning how to build trust between individuals.
- Domestic Violence: Participants are taught how to recognize, prevent, and respond appropriately to domestic violence. It focuses on understanding the causes of abusive behavior, identifying red flags early on, and learning how to create a safer environment for both parties.
- Driver Responsibility: This course focuses on teaching participants the importance of driving responsibly. Through activities and discussions, participants can identify their own patterns of behavior while behind the wheel and develop strategies to become better, safer drivers.
- DUI: This course is designed to teach participants how to make better decisions when it comes to alcohol consumption. It focuses on understanding the consequences of drinking while under the influence, recognizing signs of intoxication, and understanding the legal consequences of driving while under the influence.
- Employment: This provides participants with the tools to find and maintain successful employment. It focuses on understanding employer expectations, building strong resumes, mastering job interviews, and developing the interpersonal skills to excel in any position.
- Marijuana Awareness: This course teaches participants the potential risks associated with marijuana use. It focuses on recognizing the signs of addiction, understanding the legal implications of using marijuana, and learning how to make better decisions in the future.
- Offender Corrections: This course is designed to help participants make better decisions in the future and live a life free of crime. It focuses on recognizing triggers and warning signs, understanding the consequences of criminal behavior, and learning how to make better choices.
- Parenting: This course focuses on teaching participants how to be better parents. It covers topics such as communication, discipline, conflict resolution, and setting boundaries.
- Personal Responsibility: This course provides participants with the tools to become better decision-makers. It focuses on understanding personal responsibility, recognizing warning signs and triggers, and learning how to make better choices in the future.
- Substance Abuse: This course teaches participants how to identify and respond appropriately to substance abuse issues. It focuses on recognizing signs of addiction, understanding the consequences of using drugs and alcohol, and learning how to make better decisions in the future.
- Theft/Shoplifting: This course helps participants recognize and respond to the underlying causes of theft/shoplifting. It focuses on understanding why people steal, recognizing triggers, and how to manage thoughts and impulses while in the moment.
Overall, this course is designed to equip participants with the tools they need to make better decisions in their daily lives. Through activities, discussions, and practice, individuals will gain a greater understanding of how to identify risks, practice self-awareness, and actively challenge thoughts that may be self-defeating. Ultimately, the goal is to empower individuals with the knowledge and skills to make thoughtful and responsible decisions in the future.
Incarcerated Individuals Are People Who Matter
Our language is powerful, and the way we talk about people directly affects how society views them. Using terms such as “inmates” or “prisoners” when referring to people in prison can be degrading, suggesting that the person is nothing more than a number behind bars. Thinking of those individuals as “incarcerated” instead of using harsher words helps to remind us of the people’s humanity and emphasizes that their individual rights should not be forgotten while they are in prison. This simple reframing also encourages a sense of empathy towards those individuals instead of further criminalizing them and sending a message of punishing an already vulnerable population. Ultimately, switching up our language to refer to those individuals as “incarcerated” helps us keep sight of the fact these are people with stories, families, and hopes for a better future.
Contact Reentry Lifeskills Today
At Reentry Lifeskills, we understand the importance of helping individuals who have been incarcerated to reenter their communities successfully. Our team is committed to providing comprehensive training, resources, and support to help those individuals reclaim their lives and make lasting positive contributions to society. It’s why we set out on a mission to empower individuals with the knowledge and skills to live healthy, prosperous, and meaningful lives through our courses for inmates.
If you know someone who is looking to make positive changes in their life and needs support, we invite you to reach out to us today. We look forward to helping your loved one find success in the future and return to their community with the skills and confidence to make better decisions.