Research in Corrections Education and Employment

Below is a list of reports or websites that we recommend you read or visit.  If you know of others please feel free to comment below.

Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Project. The Pathways Project is a five-year, Vera-led initiative that provides selected states with incentive funding and technical assistance to expand access to higher education for people in prison and those recently released. The project seeks to demonstrate that access to postsecondary education, combined with supportive reentry services, can increase educational credentials, reduce recidivism, and increase employability and earnings. By validating what works through independent evaluation, the project also hopes to spur national replication and long-term public investment.

A Reentry Education Model by Michelle Tolbert for the U.S. Department of Education.  This is a great place to start in thinking about how to create a seamless education pathway from prison to community corrections.

World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior. READ this report to see how an expanded understanding of human behavior and psychological and social perspectives can make policy more effective.

RAND Correctional Education Infographic. This is a handy one pager that summarizes the effectiveness of correctional education.

RAND Meta-Analysis. After conducting a comprehensive literature search, the authors undertook a meta-analysis to examine the association between correctional education and reductions in recidivism, improvements in employment after release from prison, and learning in math and in reading. Their findings support the premise that receiving correctional education while incarcerated reduces an individual’s risk of recidivating. They also found that those receiving correctional education had improved odds of obtaining employment after release. The authors also examined the benefits of computer-assisted learning and compared the costs of prison education programs with the costs of reincarceration.

What Works and What Does Not? Benefit-Cost Findings from WSIPP.”For the last 20 years, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) has conducted systematic evidence reviews and economic analysis on a variety of topics for the Washington State Legislature. The primary goal of this research is to provide the legislature with objective information about the long-term economic consequences of each program or policy option reviewed. In this report, we summarize our current findings.” is a decent site for finding evidence-based programs.


Prisoners Education Trust UK has a great research page citing the importance of quality education towards reducing recidivism.