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Forum Post: Prison Education – What no one talks about

Posted 1 year ago on March 20, 2013, 11:05 p.m. EST by GirlFriday (17435)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Why bother spending tax dollars and investing time, resources, and energy in educating incarcerated felons? It’s easy to lock people away as degenerates and forget about them. I know I never gave inmates in general much of a second thought…That is, until I entered the system as a teacher and became acutely aware of the big picture: Prisoners who receive their GEDs and/or vocational certifications have lower rates of recidivism than those who do not. Inmates who are actively engaged in education are also less likely to riot or engage in individual violence, whether inmate-on-inmate or inmate-on-staff. Plenty of studies support these assertions. So you see, what goes on behind bars is as critical to society, communities, and prison staff as it is to the inmates themselves.

Recently, I voluntarily left a job as an academic instructor in a privatized prison. I had been in that position for 28 months. While that doesn’t sound long, in my experience that is practically considered longevity: During that relatively short time, out of a total of 5 academic classes and 6 vocational classes, 4 academic teachers (not including myself), 2 vocational instructors, and 2 substitute teachers left. In fact, even more relevant, all of them except for one sub QUIT of their own volition. This does not include the 3 vocational instructors who retired in that same amount of time. Turnover is a huge problem. Not only did I witness the multiple issues with inmate education first hand, but I have also explored it in depth as part of my doctoral program as I am planning a thesis in prison academics. Although my personal experiences are limited to one state, my research has revealed that the challenges I faced are pervasive throughout the United States. And the same challenges permeate both private and government-run prisons.

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37 Comments

37 Comments


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[-] 2 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

What needs to be talked about is why are you flooding the forum with posts about a subject that has no connection to Occupy's message?

Seven posts in the last two days about prison education. Why?

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

What needs to be talked about is your stance located here:

http://occupywallst.org/article/proposal-occupy-national-gathering-kalamazoo-aug-2/#comment-948781

[-] -2 points by jrhirsch (4312) from Sun City, CA 1 day ago

All of the above injustices you are fighting are the separate arms of a giant octopus, the consolidation of big business and big government. If you continue to hack at each of it's tentacles, the beast will never be destroyed. In case you didn't know, an Octopus can regrow it's arms if cut off.

Starve the beast, withhold the money that feeds it, and all of the other problems will be easily defeated. ↥twinkle ↧stinkle reply permalink


Sounds to me like you have a little fear going.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

The fear is that this forum is becoming irrelevant. The Kalamazoo gathering is another example of Occupy drifting far off course.

The more we discuss non Occupy subjects such as education in prisons, the farther we get away from the main goal of Occupy, to separate the tangled web of economic and political corruption that is gradually enslaving us.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

Faux privatization is a problem. So is your starve the beast theory. I have laid out my reasoning in other threads. You are well aware. I sense fear on your part. The fact that you have singled out my threads amidst a large portion of others confirms that this is personal.

Glad we had the opportunity to talk about it.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

I singled you out because you had the most non Occupy posts in a short time frame. Because I admire your input here, I expect much more from you than VQ or Bensdad and the other partisans.

Isn't there another forum where you can discuss education in prisons that would make a positive impact? I don't see it doing any good here at all.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Your perspective would seem very limited ( judging by your comment ).

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

I'm not altering my stance. I will continue.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Stubbornness for a selfless cause is admirable, but not when it's done on the wrong venue.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

Such as starve the beast. Your opinion has been noted. Thanks.

[-] 2 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Why do you think that the strategy of breaking the economic ties between big business and big government doesn't belong on this forum?

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

Starve the beast is cutting funding to programs that benefit the people to allow corporations to completely privatize those aspects of government which should not be. You know this.

I'm sure that providing or hunting down this information would give you reason to comment in the manner that you have. Wouldn't want any information getting out where people would be able to make their own minds up.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago
[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Not at all. Starving the beast reduces corporate profits and forces them to listen to their customers voices saying stop buying representatives that serve corporate interests instead of serving the people's.

The term big government is probably throwing you off my intent. Our federal government is enormous, but the people have little say over how it governs. You might want to expand social programs, while I might want to cut military spending, and another might want to abolish hierarchical government all together. I want the many people, not the few powerful, to decide for themselves what kind of government they wish to live under, whether socialist, capitalist, anarchist, or any combination of systems they see fit.

One strategy is to cut the economic strength of corporations, another is an amendment limiting the political contributions from corporate, wealthy, and special interest entities. Both focus on money because that is the source of political power in our country.

I can't think of a more direct way to empower the people of this country and the world except by eliminating the unfair advantage that wealth affords. If you have a more effective strategy to bring the power back to the people, please present it. I'll embrace any strategy that is honest, fair, and effective.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

OK, now I understand. I had no idea there was another political movement using that term.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Starve the beast is cutting funding to programs that benefit the people

If that is what is considered as starving the beast - then - misinformation rules the day.

Starving the beast - "IS" - removing our money from every TBTF Bank - and reinvesting in our local communities. Removing our money from the monsters of wallstreet and investing/saving in our local communities.

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

There have been several community banks established here in Oz over the last few years. Not only are you investing with someone you know, but the profits are going back into your own community and businesses.

I'm with CUA, which is the largest of the people-owned credit unions, because I'm a bit more mobile than most, and need to access the bank through post offices in my travels.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Keeping it local non-profit and clean - circulating through the community. THAT - "IS" - The way to go. RIGHT-ON!

[-] 0 points by justiceforzim (-17) 1 year ago

I really cannot see why you get downvoted all the time. Most of your posts are thoughtful, polite, and NON partisan. Kudos and a twinke. You are correct that the threads that get the most action are totally non OWS related. I am guilty of defending the 2nd ammendment. I had hoped after the election the politcal sniping would stop. Hell, there was a recent thread bashing NIXON!!! It's obvious the tech savvy Obama apertik thinks disrupting this forum serves some purpose.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Thanks. We all need to take a hard look at our own contributions to this forum and see if they really move our goal forward or just to the side.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

This is totally ows related in that it deals with corporations/slave labor and the prison industrial complex. In fact, this isn't my first time putting up material such as this. However, what is obvious is that someone that would be a proponent of "starve the beast" would be diametrically opposed to information such as this. What is even more telling is that someone would be against a meeting of other activists.

At this point, you are nothing but a show.

[-] 0 points by justiceforzim (-17) 1 year ago

However, what is obvious is that someone that would be a proponent of "starve the beast" would be diametrically opposed to information such as this. What is even more telling is that someone would be against a meeting of other activists.

At this point, you are nothing but a show.

I certainly cannot speak for jr and am not sure what he sees wrong with the Kalamazoo get together, but I do not understand why 'starve the beast' clashes with your views on the PIC. I suspect that he feels (as do I) that Occupy might be better served by concentrating on 1 or 2 issues and getting a victory instead of the seemingly shotgun approach that peppers the forum. It continues to be more of a 'bitchfest' about any and all topics in the universe. While discussing myriad problems in the world is OK, focus is also needed to get something accomplished.

I cannot compute your last statement...."nothing but show"

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

If you can't see it then, by all means, I'll make sure to continue to post threads that demonstrate this until you are completely aware.

[-] 1 points by Narley (284) 1 year ago

I think education of prisoners is a good idea. Warehousing won’t solve any problems. However, my complaint is too many criminals are beyond redemption. No amount of educations will help them or society. I don’t have any numbers, but it seems we let too many hard core criminals out of prison just to have them commit more crimes. Recidivism rate is high.

I hate to say it, but some people should never be released from prison.

[-] 3 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

Studies show that education impacts the recidivism rate.

[-] 0 points by Narley (284) 1 year ago

Yes, education helps. But still too many career criminals, gang bangers and sexual predators can’t be saved. For the sake of society a lot of those folks should never be released.

Not trying to change the subject, but I think releasing a lot of the minor drug charge prisoners would go a long way toward making prisons more workable. I’ve never done ANY illegal drug in my life, but even I see the absurdity of putting someone in prison for smoking a joint.

[-] 3 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

I agree. Not everyone should be released. In fact, that has been my stance from the beginning.

What I think is funny, in a disgusting way, and that I have already noted is that it's ok to whip out numbers of inmates when it is all about someone's agenda but when you actually get down to what is and is not happening..............whole 'nother ball game, innit?

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Say it - say-it - Say-it-again!!!!

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

When children see no future....................................

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

And it remains unsolvable if the problems aren't acknowledged.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Yep - it is said - that it takes a big individual to own up to failures. Hmmm not too many of those in office..............

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

Well, I found it particularly enlightening that this educator worked for the CCA.

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

? = CCA www.cca.com/ CCA designs, builds, manages and operates correctional facilities and detention centers on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Immigration and Customs ...


A neighbor of mine ( father of a friend ) worked at Mn Stillwater State Penitentiary. He worked in rehabilitation - actually got prisoners tech education - one of his graduates built him a backyard Bar-B-Que ( really nice brick work ).

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

That be the one. Private (faux) prison that has been sued so many times it isn't funny. Like here and here


How cool is that?

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

That is unspeakable.

[-] -1 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 1 year ago

I think that is an excellent plan.

Education is the key, and with nothing but time, inmates should be surrounded by it.

I always got a kick out of my uncle claiming he got his degree in business. What he was referring to was a few CLEP courses in Attica :)