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Can College in Prison Reduce Recidivism Rates?

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) It's one of the most controversial decision of the Cuomo administration: providing college education to prisoners. But can it mean fewer return trips to the slammer? One criminal justice professor says it can happen.

"What they found is the higher the level of education, the lower the recidivism rate," says John Babi of Hilbert College. Babi says the Institute for Higher education policy found recidivism rates for those with college education is 46 percent lower than those without. "One prisoner stated, 'Prison education is a means of rehabilitating and redirecting.' If you release someone with the same skills with which they came in, you're going to get involved in the same activities as before," says Babi.

Babi says there's an additional benefit to a college education. "It also reduces violence because people with education realize violence is not the answer," says Babi.

Babi says in other states, prisoners have to pay for the education through jobs within the jail system. He says some cannot afford that.


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