Peter Wagner, Executive Director
I need your help. For more than a decade, the Prison Policy Initiative has been at the forefront of the movement to expose how mass incarceration undermines our national welfare. With a lot of hard work and generous support from a small network of individual donors, we've won major civil rights victories in local governments, state legislatures and even the Supreme Court. But our long-term viability depends on people like you investing in our work.

Can you stand up for smart and effective justice policy by joining our small network of donors today? You can make a one-time gift, or even become one of our sustaining monthly donors.

Through the end of 2014, your contribution to our work will stretch twice as far thanks to a match commitment from a small group of other donors like you.

I thank you for your investment in our work towards a more just tomorrow.
—Peter
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Education

Correctional education and the school-to-prison pipeline

  • Indicators Of School Crime And Safety, 2013 [Website]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, July, 2014
    “During the 2009–10 school year, 85% of public schools recorded that one or more crime incidents had taken place at school, amounting to an estimated 1.9 million crimes.”
  • How Effective is Correctional Education, and Where Do We Go from Here? The Results of a Comprehensive Evaluation, [PDF]
    Rand Corporation, February, 2014
    “...correctional education for incarcerated adults reduces the risk of post-release reincarceration (by 13 percentage points) and does so cost-effectively (a savings of five dollars on reincarceration costs for every dollar spent on correctional education)”
  • Just Learning The Imperative to Transform Juvenile Justice Systems Into Effective Educational Systems, [PDF]
    Southern Education Foundation, 2014
    “...most students come in and out of the juvenile justice systems with little or no real regard for their education.”
  • The Degree of Disadvantage: Incarceration and Inequality in Education, [PDF]
    Stephanie Ewert, Bryan L. Sykes, and Becky Pettit, November, 2013
    “Nearly three in ten white male dropouts in the United States can expect to serve time in a state or federal correctional facility in their lifetime, and nearly 60 percent of black male dropouts are imprisoned at some point in their lives...”
  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education A Meta-Analysis of Programs That Provide Education to Incarcerated Adults, [PDF]
    RAND Corporation, August, 2013
    “On average, inmates who participated in correctional education programs had 43% lower odds of recidivating than inmates who did not, and the odds of obtaining employment postrelease was 13% higher than those who had not participated.”
  • Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2012, [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, June, 2013
    “In 2011, about 28 percent of 12- to 18-year-old students reported being bullied at school during the school year.”
  • Keeping Kids In School and Out of Court: Report and Recommendations, [PDF]
    New York City School-Justice Partnership Task Force, May, 2013
    “During the School Year 2012 there were 882 arrests and 1,666 summonses issued, with over-representation of students of color. Suspension and school arrest patterns are less a function of student misbehavior than a function of the adult response.”
  • Handcuffs on Success The Extreme School Discipline Crisis in Mississippi Public Schools, [PDF]
    Advancement Project, American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP, Mississippi Coalition for the Prevention of Schoolhouse to Jailhouse, January, 2013
    “Extreme and destructive approaches to school discipline not only have directly harmed students and families, but also have caused teachers, law enforcement officials, and community members to have their lives and careers made more difficult.”
  • Are Black Kids Worse? Myths and Facts about Racial Differences in Behavior, [PDF]
    Equity Project at Indiana University, 2013
    “Such studies have provided little to no evidence that African American students in the same school or district are engaging in more seriously disruptive behavior that could warrant higher rates of exclusion or punishment.”
  • A Performance Audit of Inmate High School Education [PDF]
    Utah Legislative Auditor General, August, 2012
    “In fiscal year 2011, over 5,200 inmates were enrolled in adult education, which is about 22 percent of Utah's entire adult education program.”
  • Arrested Future The Criminalization of School Discipline in Massachusetts' Three Largest School Districts, [PDF]
    ACLU of Massachusetts, May, 2012
    “While there are undoubtedly many reasons why there are more public order arrests in Springfield than in Boston or Worcester, it appears that the manner in which Springfield deploys police officers in its public schools is a contributing factor.”
  • Juvenile Justice Alternative Edu. Programs Performance Assessment Report School Year 2010-2011, [PDF]
    Texas Juvenile Justice Department, May, 2012
    “The average passing rate for reading/ELA was 68.8% compared to 38.2% for math. The overall passing rates are up from 67.6% in reading/ELA and 34.5% for math in school year 2008-2009.”
  • Pay Now or Pay Much More Later Law Enforcement Leaders support high-quality early education to cut crime and save money in California, [PDF]
    Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California, April, 2012
    “Research shows that high-quality preschool programs can significantly reduce felony arrests and incarceration rates and return $10 or more in savings for every dollar invested, with nearly 1/2 of the savings coming from lower prison & crime-related costs.”
  • The Post-Release Employment and Recidivism Among Different Types of Offenders With A Different Level of Education: A 5-Year Follow-Up Study in Indiana, [PDF]
    Indiana Department of Corrections and Ball State University, April, 2012
    “Offenders who had a lower level of education not only had a higher recidivism rate, but also such uneducated/under-educated offenders were likely to be re-incarcerated earlier than those offenders who had a higher level of education.”
  • Indicators Of School Crime And Safety, 2011 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, February, 2012
    “In 2009–10, about 74 percent of public schools recorded one or more violent incidents of crime, 16 percent recorded one or more serious violent incidents, and 44 percent recorded one or more thefts.”
  • The Education of DC How Washington D.C.'s investments in education can help increase public safety, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, February, 2012
    “This national trend is seen in D.C. as the funding for the justice system continues to increase at the expense of public education.”
  • Does Federal Financial Aid Affect College Enrollment? Evidence from Drug Offenders and the Higher Education Act of 1998, [PDF]
    Cornell University, February, 2012
    “The ban on Federal financial aid increased the amount of time between high school graduation and college enrollment, affected students were less likely to ever enroll in college, and the law did not deter young people from committing drug felonies.”
  • Education Under Arrest The Case Against Police in Schools, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, November, 2011
    “[School resource officers] and law enforcement in schools are not needed to keep kids safe, especially when youth pay the price of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system and suffer a lifetime of negative effects as a result.”
  • Misplaced Priorities Over Incarcerate, Under Educate, [PDF]
    NAACP, April, 2011
    “During the last two decades, as the criminal justice system came to assume a larger proportion of state discretionary dollars, state spending on prisons grew at six times the rate of state spending on higher education.”
  • Law Enforcement Officers in Wake County Schools: The Human, Educational, and Financial Costs, [PDF]
    Advocates for Children's Services, Legal Aid of North Carolina, February, 2011
    (This report examines the effects of the proliferation of police officers in Wake County, NC (Raleigh area) public schools.)
  • The Consequences of Dropping Out of High School Joblessness and Jailing for High School Dropouts and the High Cost for Taxpayers, [PDF]
    Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University, October, 2009
    “Nearly 1 of every 10 young male high school dropouts was institutionalized on a given day in 2006-2007 versus fewer than 1 of 33 high school graduates.”
  • Reclaiming Michigan's Throwaway Kids: Students Trapped in the School-to-Prison Pipeline, [PDF]
    Michigan ACLU, 2009
    “When school administrators refer some student discipline matters to law enforcement agencies, there is a consequent criminalization of many students whose offenses would otherwise have been dealt with entirely by school officials.”
  • Education and Public Safety Policy Brief [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, August, 2007
    “Graduation rates were associated with positive public safety outcomes. Researchers have found that a 5 percent increase in male high school graduation rates would produce an annual savings of almost $5 billion in crime-related expenses.”
  • Literacy Behind Bars Results From the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy Prison Survey, [PDF]
    U.S. Department of Education, May, 2007
    “In every age group examined (16-24, 25-39, and 40 or older), incarcerated adults had lower average prose, document, and quantitative literacy than adults in the same age group living in households.”
  • Education on Lockdown: The Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track, [PDF]
    Advancement Project, March, 2005
    “Examination of the emergence of zero tolerance school discipline policies and how these policies have pushed students away from an academic track to a future in the juvenile justice system.”
  • Current Issues in Correctional Education: A Compilation and Discussion, [PDF]
    Council of Advancement of Adult Literacy, February, 2004
  • The Effect of Earning a GED on Recidivism Rates [PDF]
    State of New York Department of Correctional Services, September, 2003
    “[T]hose inmates who earned a GED while incarcerated returned to custody within three years at a significantly lower rate than offender who did not earn a GED while incarcerated.”
  • Education and Incarceration [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, August, 2003
  • Education as Crime Prevention: The Case for Reinstating Pell Grant Eligibility for the Incarcerated, [PDF]
    Bard Prison Initiative, 2003
    “This report illustrates the overwhelming consensus among public officials that postsecondary education is the most successful and cost-effective method of preventing crime.”
  • Education not Incarceration [PDF]
    Education Not Incarceration, 2003
    (California Coalition of Teachers, Students, Parents and Citizens)
  • Spending More on Prisons than Higher Education [PDF]
    Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, 2003
    (has official and inflation adjusted comparison from FY 1968 to 2004)
  • Cellblocks or Classrooms?: The Funding of Higher Education and Corrections and Its Impact on African American Men, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, August, 2002
    “State spending on prisons grows at 6 times the rate of higher education”
  • ¿Dónde Está la Justicia? Un llamado a la acción a favor de los jóvenes latinos en el sistema de justicia de los EE.UU. (Spanish), [PDF]
    Building Blocks for Youth, July, 2002
  • Education vs. Incarceration: A Mississippi case study, [PDF]
    Grassroots Leadership, May, 2002
  • State Correctional Education Programs: State Policy Update, [PDF]
    National Institute for Literacy, March, 2002
  • Three State Recidivism Study [PDF]
    Correctional Education Association, September, 2001
    (Methodologically strong study on the effect of prison education programs on reducing recidivism)
  • Changing Minds The Impact of College in a Maximum Security Prison, [PDF]
    Graduate Center of CUNY & Women in Prison at Bedford Hills CF, NY, September, 2001
  • Follow-Up Study of Offenders Who Earn GEDs While Incarcerated in DOCS
    State of New York Department of Correctional Services, May, 2001
    (Helping a prisoner get his GED while incarcerated cuts recidivism)
  • Analysis of Recidivism Rates of Education Program Participants in Virginia [PDF]
    Kim A. Hull, et. al., June, 2000
  • Opportunities Suspended: The Devastating Consequences of Zero Tolerance and School Discipline Policies, [PDF]
    Advancement Project & Harvard Civil Rights Project, June, 2000
    “The report illustrates that Zero Tolerance is unfair, is contrary to the developmental needs of children, denies children educational opportunities, and often results in the criminalization of children.”
  • Impact of Educational Achievement of Inmates in the Windham School District on Post-Release Employment, [PDF]
    Criminal Justice Policy Council (Texas), June, 2000
    (Windham District is the Texas prison system)
  • Educational Achievement of Inmates in the Windham School District [PDF]
    Criminal Justice Policy Council (Texas), April, 2000
    (Windham District is the Texas prison system)
  • New York State of Mind?: Higher Education vs. Prison Funding in the Empire State, 1988-1998, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, December, 1998
  • Class Dismissed: Higher Education vs. Corrections During the Wilson Years, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, September, 1998
    (California)
  • U.S. Prison Spending Increases Faster than College Funding 1977-1995
    ABC News, July, 1998
    (Interactive state atlas)
  • Is Maryland's System of Higher Education Suffering Because of Prison Expenditures?,
    Justice Policy Institute, March, 1998
  • Education as Crime Prevention: Providing education to prisoners, [PDF]
    Center for Crime, Communities and Culture, September, 1997
  • Trading Classrooms for Cellblocks: Destructive Policies Eroding DC Communities, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, March, 1997
  • From Classrooms to Cellblocks: A National Perspective [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, February, 1997
  • From Classrooms to Cell-blocks: How Prison Building Affects Higher Education and African American Enrollment in CA, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, October, 1996
    (California)
  • Analysis of Return Rates of the Inmate College Program Participants
    State of New York Department of Correctional Services, August, 1991
    (Allowing a prisoner to go to college cuts recidivism.)

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Meet us

  • December 7-9, 2014:
    Peter Wagner will be in Washington D.C. for meetings about prison gerrymandering and other issues. If you’d like to meet while Peter is in town, please contact us.

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Events

  • December 7-9, 2014:
    Peter Wagner will be in Washington D.C. for meetings about prison gerrymandering and other issues. If you’d like to meet while Peter is in town, please contact us.

Not near you?
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