Final Draft of Research Project.docx

Final Draft of Research Project.docx - Ethel Carpenter...

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Ethel Carpenter Professor Youngren Research Project ENG 123 Education Equals Empowerment When he was a high school senior, getting an education wasn’t a top priority for Chris Zoukis. He was more interested in booze and cocaine. So, when he was busted for downloading child pornography, forced to drop out of school, and convicted, Zoukis wasn’t concerned about not receiving a diploma. He likely wouldn’t have graduated anyway. It took him a while in prison before he started to think about paying attention to the future. However, after participating in rehabilitation classes for substance abuse and addiction, he was ready to make drastic changes in his life—starting with furthering his education. In 2016, Zoukis graduated with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in business and law. He’s written three books about the prison system and founded two websites to help prisoners find education and legal resources. And he’s done it all behind bars. Christopher will not allow incarceration to waste his years or hinder the progress of his life. He began his prison terms as a confused kid who made poor decisions but is now determined to create a better life form himself. “We can’t let the past define us,” he says. “We have to do something today to make tomorrow what we want it to be.” According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, around 700,000 prisoners are being released onto our streets and into our communities every year. Studies estimate that roughly 49.3% of prisoners that are released will be arrested again within eight years. Mass incarceration and recidivism places a financial strain in our economy. American taxpayers spend $70 Billion per year
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providing services to prisoners. By educating the prison population, we could save billions per year and significantly less prisoners would return to jail. Ensuring these ex-offenders get employed and become contributing members of society is a critical issue. A community’s well- being is contingent upon the reformation of character that occurs while the offender is in prison. In this paper, I will argue that prison education stands as a viable solution to reducing recidivism and enhancing the safety of our neighborhoods, by examining the effects of higher education and how it effects the quality of life for all citizens. In this section, I will present a historical background for the origins of education in prison. The history of prison education in the United States can be traced as far back as the 1700’s. Early prison education in the late 1700’s consisted of going to Sabbath School. The goal was to be able to teach the inmates how to read so that they would be able to read the Bible. During this Colonial era, the Puritans were obligated to seek salvation through reading the Bible, therefore, early correctional education programs became literacy driven programs so that inmates could read and comprehend the Bible. During this period, a local chaplain would provide bibles to the inmates and volunteered his time to help them learn to read. Ultimately, the goal of the
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