Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Why and how correctional education works: Academic success among participants in post-secondary correctional education
by DiMambro, Carol J., Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2007, 197; 3271339
Abstract (Summary)

Correctional education research strongly suggests that education works to lower recidivism rates. Participants are less likely to recidivate than non-participants; however, relatively few studies systematically examined what occurred within the participant group to account for this difference. Since most research on correctional education is outcomes-based (i.e., recidivate or not) between participants and non-participants, little has been written about the specific mechanisms that contribute to these findings.

A search of the correctional education literature revealed that academic success might be a better predictor of recidivism than participation. A review of the education literature revealed that academic success might be contingent upon being academically prepared for college coursework. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis "Participants in post-secondary correctional education who achieve academic success are less likely to recidivate than participants who are less successful." The study examined 493 inmates who participated in post-secondary correctional education bewteen1990 and 1992 at four correctional facilities in upstate New York and released at least once by December 31, 1998.

Lewin's (1951) change model was used to explain behavioral changes in inmates released from prison, particularly those who participated in correctional education. While incarcerated, inmates are faced with driving and restraining forces that shift equilibrium closer to desistance or recidivism.

Miller's patterns of participation were used to explain who "drops into" correctional education and why. It is theorized that inmates who participate out of personal need and who are supported by the correctional education structure (Needs=Social Forces) are most likely to succeed academically and to desist from future criminal behavior.

Using logistic regression analysis it was possible to conclude that as participants achieved greater academic success the likelihood of recidivating decreased significantly. Participants who were academically prepared were more likely to achieve academic success than other participants. However, academic success was not limited to those who were college-ready. Participants who were successful in completing remedial coursework achieved greater academic success than other unprepared participants. Post-secondary correctional education programs that prepare students for academic success may be particularly useful in reducing recidivism among participants.

Indexing (document details)
School: State University of New York at Albany
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 68/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Adult education, Continuing education, Criminology, Higher education
Keywords: Academic success, Correctional education, Postsecondary, Recidivism
Publication Number: 3271339
ISBN: 978-0-549-11621-9
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