Prison Education Solutions

Family Literacy
Motivates prisoners and their children to master their reading and writing skills by providing a parallel experience for children ages 5-10 learning alongside their parents or relatives. Depending on their release status, prisoners can learn by helping their children and learning from their children if they are physically proximate, or compete with their children to see who can master the most skills if they are still separated. Offering the same learner control, teamwork and formative feedback as our adult programs, along with a complete Spanish language program for young immigrants transitioning into English, Family Bilingual Literacy fits perfectly into a pre- or post-release Prisoner Literacy Solution.

Reading Skills for Today’s Adults – Professional Edition
Motivates learners to build their reading and writing skills by having them work in teams, asking them to make decisions about what to learn next and rewarding communications during problem solving. The software provides learners with over 350 high interest life skills readings at grade levels 1-8 that provide useful information in the context of building reading skills. Over 1,500 learning activities covering all six elements of literacy: phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary development, fluency, comprehension and writing ensure true literacy mastery.

Interactive GED Vocabulary
Helps prisoners reading at or above the 8th grade level master thousands of high use academic words through engaging learning activities (we won’t call them games, but, they are.) Learners choose the activities that work for them: definition-based, spelling-based, sound-based, etc. They then use the same words in writing to activate them. If your prison workforce preparation program also needs job-specific vocabulary development,
please click here to contact The Family Learning Company.

Family Literacy and Prison Education

An estimated 70 percent of the juvenile justice population suffer from learning disabilities, and 33 percent read below the fourth grade level1. Over half of adult inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth-grade level2. After completing their sentences, how are these people going to capture and maintain a job at a living wage and avoid recycling back into crime and prison? By learning to read! The Educational Testing Service reported3 that the most common finding of twenty years of research is that inmates exposed to education programs are more likely to be employed and less likely to end up back in prison than non-participants. A 2013 RAND Corporation study showed that participation in prison education, including both academic and vocational programming, was associated with an over 40 percent reduction in recidivism—saving $4 to $5 for each dollar spent4.

Back in 1992, the Texas Criminal Justice Council published a Reading to Reduce Recidivism,5 concluding that computer-assisted instruction was effective in improving reading skills for prisoners, potentially reducing recidivism (the study did not continue long enough to prove that correlation.) In 2008, Roger Smith of Sumpter County, FL Corrections and Marilyn Jaeger Adams of Soliloquy Learning showed that the use of computer-assisted guided oral reading significantly improved prisoner reading fluency and comprehension6.

However, as shown by a 1997-8 trial of reading software use to improve prisoner reading skills in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, if the prison staff use education services removal as punishment for misbehavior, few prisoners if any will spend enough time on task to benefit. The Texas Criminal Justice Council study also pointed out that the inclusion of even a few prisoners who are not interested in improving their literacy can destroy implementation for the entire cohort. Finally, as shown in Sumpter County, FL, if education programs start at too high a level, prisoners will not benefit. Prisoners reading at or below the 6th grade level may need to start working on 2nd or 3rd grade level texts in order to benefit.

The solution? Focus prison education programs on core reading skills first, only working up to GED-level materials after proving mastery in 8th grade literacy.

1J Wald, DJ Losen - New directions for youth development, 2003.
2Hyte & Tracy-Mumford - Breaking The Cycle of inmate recidivism, 2013.
3Hendricks, Hendricks & Kauffman - Literacy, Criminal Activity, and Recidivism, 1996.
4Davis, Bozick, Steele, Saunders &Miles - Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education, 2013.
5Criminal Justice Policy Council, Reading to Reduce Recidivism, 1992.
6Smith & Adams, Efficacy of Computer-Mediated Guided Oral Reading for Developing Reading Fluency and Comprehension among ABE-Level Prison Inmates, 2008.

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