Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring the Potential of Digital Technology to Reduce Recidivism: A Delphi Study on the Digitalization of Prison Education
by Smith, Valerie S., Ph.D., Ashford University, 2020, 178; 28022330
Abstract (Summary)

The United States holds 25% of the entire global prison population. Recidivism is at a record level, as by year five following release 76% of former inmates will be back in prison. Prison settings grant minimal skills that are sufficient for attaining a job in today's highly digitized labor market. To date, no studies have assessed the potential of digital prison education for reducing recidivism among ex-inmates in America. Hence, this investigation sought to address this literature gap by exploring the potential of digital prison education for reducing recidivism, and determining any other potential benefits arising from this type of education. The purpose of the study was to attain a consensus from a panel of experts regarding the use of technology to provide education and technical skills for prison inmates. A Delphi method was applied as the qualitative research design with three rounds used to reach a consensus on the introduction of technology in prison education. Participants (Round 1 n = 75; Round 2 n = 35; Round 3 n = 32) were Regional Correctional Educational Directors working in various U.S. prisons and other staff associated with prison education. Over 70% of participating experts thought digital and technical skills education could reduce prisonization, increase changes for college education while in prison, and increase employability chances upon release. The highest level of agreement was 94.2% for essential computer and primary software use. However, less than 70% of participants considered the logistic requirements for introducing technology in prison education to be a priority or feasible despite the potential to reduce recidivism by providing inmates with adequate employment skills once exiting prison. Implications for practice include change of prison organizational culture from a punishment-based approach to a rehabilitation approach to enable the prioritization of educational programs and increase chances for the social integration of inmates following release and reduced recidivism.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Shelton, Dana
Commitee: Castleberry, James
School: Ashford University
Department: Human Services
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Criminology, Economic history, Labor economics, Educational technology
Keywords: Delphi, Digital skills, Digitalization, Social integration, Strain theory, Technical skills
Publication Number: 28022330
ISBN: 9798662400016
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