To: Mr. Charles E. Samuels, Jr., Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons
Education for All
We are asking for the government to provide general education programs in every prison across the United States. We need to educationally equip these men and women as to increase their life opportunities when they re-enter society.
Why is this important?
Dear Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons,
Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Data from Education Crime Prevention has revealed that the illiteracy rate of prison inmates is over four times that of the adult population. This is an injustice and we are failing our inmates across the United States. We are writing on behalf of these inmates and the future of our country. We urge you to provide more opportunities for these inmates to access general education or vocational schooling.
As of 2012, there were over 1.5 million people in the United States prison population. In 2012, over 630,000 inmates were released from prison. Of those released, 72% were age 44 or younger. Among the adult prisoners incarcerated before the age of 18, 90% of them will return into society without a high school diploma or GED. Once released, these inmates have a minimum of two decades to contribute to the U.S. labor force and earn their living expenses before they reach the minimum age of retirement. We need to equip these men and women to be productive members of society. The Federal Bureau of Prisons can accomplish this through an increase of GED programs and vocational schooling, offered in both state and federal prison.
In 2011, African Americans made up 37.8% of all inmates while they only made up 13.6% of the total U.S. population. Of these inmates, 37.2% had less than a high school education, 9.1% high school GED, and 2.1% some college. Hispanics were 22.8% of the prison population and only 16.3% of the total U.S. population. 53% of Hispanic inmates have not completed their GED. Both of these minority groups are disproportionately represented within the United States prison system. These groups typically have lower education attainment and face more educational obstacles as they enter the prison system. An increase of GED programs and vocational schooling in prisons would greatly benefit these minorities and all inmates by increasing their life opportunities when they re-enter society.
According to the prison studies project, 95 out of every 100 people incarcerated will be released and nearly 7 in 10 people who are released will commit a new crime. Education is one factor that reduces the repetition of crime. Through inmate education programs we can lower the risk of repeat offenders and illegal activity. The California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation is committed to preparing inmates for a successful reintegration into their communities in order to reduce re-victimization. These academic courses have a standardized curriculum aimed at achieving high school diplomas. Inmates study English, computation, analytical and critical thinking skills, and life skills.
Help us create a better society and improve lives by educating incarcerated men and women. Do not disable these inmates and leave them without educational resources once they are released. “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Amanda Manley, Britnie Hopkins and Katie Clark