A new RAND Corporation report released on Aug. 22, 2013, funded by the he federal Bureau of Justice found that the payback for educating people in prison was four to five times the cost of recidivism.
The report claims that “The direct costs of providing education are estimated to be from $1,400 to $1,744 per inmate, with re-incarceration costs being $8,700 to $9,700 less for each inmate who received correctional education as compared to those who did not.”
Education also reduced recidivism in former prisoners by 43 percent.
Those prisoners who received vocational training were 30 percent more likely to find a job after leaving prison than those who received no training.
Prisoners who received academic education alone were half as likely to find employment after they were released from prison.
The majority of states offer educational opportunities to prisoners that can lead to a high school diploma or general education development (GED) certificate.
The researchers also note that the states that spend the least per prisoner on education have the highest rates of recidivism.
The researchers could not define exactly what worked best due to the lack of details on prisoner follow up that was available but they urge both state and federal governments to consider education as a simple cure for the high rates of recidivism in the 19 percent of the population of the United States that has at one time been in prison.