Nearly 7 out of 10 prisoners is destined to return to prison after being released. Yet, when the chopping block returns, it is the programs that can go to reduce these figures that are the first to go from the prison budget. Take this report from California Watch showing that prisoners don’t have access to education:
Fewer than one in every ten California inmates are enrolled in an educational program, despite a pledge by state officials to enhance rehabilitation efforts in order to cut recidivism and relieve prison overcrowding. An estimated 14,360 inmates were taking part in a variety of academic classes out of a total adult inmate population of 162,608, according to a report [PDF] released last week by the California Rehabilitation Oversight Board.
The bigger problem is that it seems that some seats for potential students are even going unused. Meanwhile, education at the UC and CSU systems gets more expensive every year. The way we reduce our expenditures on prisons isn’t to cut anti-recidivism programs, it is too make sure that they work and that prisoners are using them.