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Education Inside Dedicated to all issues related to prisoner education.

View Poll Results: Do you think that degrees earned in prison are worth it when they come home?
Absolutely. 202 58.38%
Not really. 24 6.94%
Depends on what kind of degree. 58 16.76%
I'm not sure. 62 17.92%
Voters: 346. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 07-06-2006, 08:52 PM
babygurl919 babygurl919 is offline
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Question Degrees Earned in Prison - Are They Worth It?

Okay, here's the deal... My husband has been enrolled in Ashworth College correspondence courses for about 10 months now. He's been working to get his Associate's Degree in Psychology and he's been doing really well so far and I've been really proud of him.

Anyway, so today he told me that he doesn't think he wants to continue with the degree anymore (he's hinted at it before so I know he's been thinking about it for a while). He doesn't really feel like he's learning anything useful and he feels bad that I'm paying for it every month. In all honesty, it's really not that much at all, but he still feels bad because he doesn't think it's really gonna get him anywhere when he comes home.

I have to admit, I kind of agree with him. I mean, while I do think it would be GREAT for his own personal knowledge and self-esteem, realistically I just don't see him going anywhere with it in the "real world". It was hard enough for me to find a job and I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree, 3.8 GPA, and no criminal record. Plus, I don't think he really sees himself in a job that would require a degree, and he made a good point that most jobs that require degrees probably don't hire people with felony convictions.

I don't really mind one way or the other what he decides to do, as long as he's doing something. But I wanted to get other people's opinions on this. Do you feel that degrees earned while in prison are worth it when they get out? And what do you think is more helpful, realistically, for people with criminal records - educational or vocational training? Have you talked to your man about this? What are his thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 07-06-2006, 09:07 PM
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I gotta agree that any job that would require a degree probably wouldn't hire a person with a felony on his/her record. The way I see it though, the parole board I hear likes to see self improvements, and that would definatly be one, even if it doesn't take him any where when he gets out. It also wouldn't hurt for him to expand his knowledge, even if it's just a little bit. I'm trying to find a place where my husband can get a little education, maybe a degree... I know it would definatly help him feel better about himself. He's always saying how smart I am and how he wishes he could be smart to. When in reality he's just as smart if not smarter than me. His education has just been misguided in the ways of the street life...
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Old 07-06-2006, 09:50 PM
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I think that it is worth it because you never know who is willing to give a felon a chance now a days .. my cousin is a felon and he works at a corporate office thanks to someone he meet and his degree he got in prison.. So that is why i feel it is important for him to try and still get his degree.. Yea it willl not just happen but you can never say never..

Also he can look at it like this .. when he goes up for parole , it will show the parole board that he was educating himself.. Some parole boards smile upon things like that.. Or he can just look at it like this he may have went to prison but he still got a college degree and many ppl who never went to prison cant say they got a degree.. A degree is a sense of accomplishment ..

My husband is in Texas so he is in college .. even though now he has to transfer his credits cause he was moved to another unit.. But thank god we dont have to pay for it here .. So that is a plus for us..
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Old 07-07-2006, 04:15 PM
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Two of the things they look at when they are eligible for parole is violence and education... I think they should try to get as much education in as they can as long as it's offered. Yes... maybe it won't be useful on the streets later but I still think it's better to have under their belt, ya know?? My b/f was just offered some college courses recently and I told him to take advantage of that for sure!!!
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Old 07-07-2006, 04:23 PM
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It's worth it. An education is always worth it. I know someone who's exhusband went to prison and walked out with a PhD. I don't see how it's not. I think that showing he has a degree, and can continue on after getting an AA to get a Bachelors shows something to a potential employer who may hire him dispite his felony record.

I would want to continue to enable him to do his best and continue down this path. You said it yourself you're having a hard enough time finding someone who will hire you and you have a Bachelors. What kind of job is he going to get with a felony record and no degree or anything?

If he doesn't want to keep getting his degree, they usually offer vocational school in prison, maybe he should look into that.
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Old 07-08-2006, 05:43 AM
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An education is never wasted. Even if he never uses it.
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Old 07-08-2006, 05:49 AM
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I think it's worth it. There are alot of people in the work force and people who own companies who are just like us, they have family and friends in prison and aren't baised. He may have to do alot more hunting than most to find a jod but he will get one.
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Old 07-08-2006, 07:29 AM
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Think about this, babygurl. How many kids go to college on mom and dad's dime and get a BS in something they'll never use? My co-workers's son is getting a BA in Museum curation, or something crazy like that. She swears up and down he's going to be asking people if they want to super-size that order. Sure, there are fields where a degree is necessary. But, largely, college isn't JUST about the education in the classroom. Its about learning to budget your time and critical thinking and problem solving and following through. If you walk out of any institution with some kind of degree/certification, its all about the fact that YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!!! Think back to your graduation day. That's what it was all about for you, right? I, personally, think he should stick it out just for that reason. How awesome would he feel to say "I DID IT!" Some things in life are just worth saying that, whether or not they pay off right away. And like someone else said, its a stepping stone for furthering his education when he gets home should he want to do that. Don't let his fears take over his life. He doesn't have to stay in his role as the "bad boy." If he wants something else...something better...he's gotta go get it. Don't let the idea that he MAY not be able to do something stop him. So what IF it doesn't work out, but WOO-HOO if it does! Ya already know it won't if he doesn't do it. Its a 50% chance compared to a 100% chance...

Not to mention, it'll give you more time to work together. My man took an algebra class and I tutored him through the mail. It was fun! How many inmates have a girl who can do that for them (besides those of us here) My opinion is that education of any kind is always worth it. No knowledge is too small
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Old 07-08-2006, 09:02 AM
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I think a degree will always give someone the edge in getting employment over someone who doesn't have one, even if applying in a different field. It demonstrates someone has the ability and perserverance to maintain employment as well as all those qualities mel2020 mentioned.

I'd encourage him to continue. The added benefit is keeping his mind off prison for awhile.
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Old 07-08-2006, 09:05 AM
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A degree is worth it, even if all it does is change his perception of himself a little bit. Often enough, it isn't the field the degree is in but the fact that one stuck it out and got it that people look at. And, it's a little bit to offset that "prison" thing on his resume. besides, as said, education is NEVER wasted.
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Old 07-08-2006, 10:08 AM
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It will not hurt him for anything in life, whether he chooses/get's a job that does not "require" a degree. In every instance, it can only help him. If he is not studying, or taking classes, what else will he do while there? I say stick with it.
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Old 07-08-2006, 11:25 AM
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I would have to agree with everyone who stated that it IS worth completing. Also, if he gets a job with a company and is there a while that degree might just help lead to better positions within that company. Education is never a waste of time and in prison there are fewer and fewer educational programs available because of budget cutbacks...etc...and I strongly believe everyone who takes it upon themselves to get a better education IS and should be viewed as a VERY positive thing. I see people all the time who are very proud of themselves for what they have accomplished (or are currently doing) and I think they should be proud of themselves. Doesn't matter if it is getting their GED or something higher up THEY accomplished it and no one can take that away from them. I wish they would come up with a better way to actually "expand" educational programs in prisons instead of always cutting back on them. I have seen people who were nothing but "trouble" do a complete "360" because of their involvement in an educational program and that "positive" attitude stayed with them even after a program was completed.
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  #13  
Old 07-08-2006, 12:54 PM
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Thanks everyone for your input! I really appreciate it!

I'm gonna talk to him about this again tomorrow night when he calls. He said that he would rather concentrate on trying to get into the welding program again or some other manual labor vocational thing now. I guess he just thinks that would be a better use of his time in there because that kind of training would probably be more useful to him for when he comes home.

I understand where he's coming from because I went through the same thing when I was trying to decide whether or not I wanted to go to grad school. I just wasn't sure that it would be worth it, and I wasn't even sure what I wanted to go for, so I felt like it would just be a waste of money and time (I do think education can be a waste if you don't really wanna be there or if you know you're not even gonna try). I decided not to apply and ended up finding a decent paying job that I really like, so I'm kinda glad I didn't go...
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Old 07-08-2006, 04:26 PM
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I believe skilled labor may be more useful to him than a bachelor or associate degree. That way he has a skilled trade that he can use right away.
Some people do better with the well rounded liberal arts degrees, some are better focusing on a specific trade.
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Old 07-08-2006, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Applez
I believe skilled labor may be more useful to him than a bachelor or associate degree. That way he has a skilled trade that he can use right away.
Some people do better with the well rounded liberal arts degrees, some are better focusing on a specific trade.
This is VERY true, but also VERY limiting. If he gets a skilled trade, that's what he does...from the time he gets out until he can no longer do it. It'll be too hard to go from being an accomplished welder to, say, an auto mechanic. He can weld and that's about it. Now, if he gets an associate's degree, he can spin that off into whatever he needs to do. Whether he does what to continue his education, or just apply for that "out there" job making good money. He has more options with an educational background as opposed to a skilled background.
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Old 07-08-2006, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Applez
I believe skilled labor may be more useful to him than a bachelor or associate degree. That way he has a skilled trade that he can use right away.
That is exactly the way he sees it too.
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Old 07-08-2006, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mel2020
This is VERY true, but also VERY limiting. If he gets a skilled trade, that's what he does...from the time he gets out until he can no longer do it. It'll be too hard to go from being an accomplished welder to, say, an auto mechanic. He can weld and that's about it. Now, if he gets an associate's degree, he can spin that off into whatever he needs to do. Whether he does what to continue his education, or just apply for that "out there" job making good money. He has more options with an educational background as opposed to a skilled background.
Mel - You make a good point. But the only thing I wonder about (and him too) is realistically how many opportunites would he have right off the bat with just an Associate's in Psychology (from a relatively unknown school) and a felony conviction, ya know?
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Old 07-08-2006, 05:25 PM
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Very true baby. I was not aware he was considering learning a trade. Odds are for felons, I know because I am one now...that he is probably better off learning a trade. I may have to consider that as well, because it is extremely difficult to get into a "professional" type career w/a felony record. Especially Phych, would need a Masters degree to do anything in that field. My best to you and your husband.
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Old 07-08-2006, 10:46 PM
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My boobear is doing the Ashworth Program too and I think it is excellent.

An education is always worth it not just to get some big fancy job but for the fact that you can be satisfied with yourself for accomplishing such a big goal .

I am proud of my babe he is doing so well.

Tell your hubby maybe he can use his degree to get into one of the other programs. Maybe with a degree in psychology he can become a counselor !!!
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Old 07-08-2006, 10:59 PM
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Wait Im confused so they can get a degree when they are in jail? Sorry but if its true i think its a great idea.
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Old 07-08-2006, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marissa7
Wait Im confused so they can get a degree when they are in jail? Sorry but if its true i think its a great idea.
Yes marissa some prisons allow inmates to get degrees from various colleges ..
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Old 07-09-2006, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Free Fall
An education is never wasted. Even if he never uses it.
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Old 07-09-2006, 08:30 AM
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Realistically, you're both right. He'll probably do some type of labor job with someone who doesn't care about his background, or doesn't check. But, what happens in a couple of years when he's ready to move on? What happens when he's tired of being tired from work? I don't know of many of those types of jobs that allow you time off for school, or help you go back to school, or care about your livelihood in general. They want to job done on time and under budget. So, he's stuck.

I'll give you a great example. My brother never went to college. It was easy to find a labor job right out of high school! Well, he's been in the construction business since he started working (15 years ago, maybe) and is STILL having a hard time climbing that proverbial ladder. He's smart, knows his sh*t, but he doesn't have the educational background. On the job training is great to a certain point, but without more, its a bigger battle. He's finally a quasi-office worker, but his bosses have told him that they're not sure about letting him do more because HE DOESN'T HAVE THE EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND. He kicks himself everyday for not taking that route. He's thought about going back to school, but its too hard with a wife, 2 kids, and a full-time job...even with a built-in tutor and/or babysitter sitting right here. Hindsight is always better than foresight, but why risk it????
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Old 07-09-2006, 09:43 AM
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Thumbs up Without A Doubt, Education Inside, IS Worth It

Without a doubt, anything that will stimulate the brain, give a feeling of accomplishment, allow for an opportunity to socialize and keep an inmate on the right path is worth it. Going to classes gives him something to put on his daily itinerary other than sleep, eat, sleep, eat. . ., no matter what type of education he decides to choose.

The instructors understand that they are working with several different levels of intellegence and they are willing to adjust for it. As long as someone is willing to attend class and do their personal best, that's all that counts. Poor behaviour and disrespect is not tollerated though.

I read somewhere that the more involved an inmate is, the better his chances are that he will adjust and be accepted on the outside.
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Old 07-09-2006, 11:14 AM
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Thanks everyone for all of your input!

Well, a member here PMed me and brought up a good point that his whole issue with this is that I'm paying for the classes every month, and he doesn't want me paying for something that he really doesn't think will be worth it in the end. He would rather me save my money and he'll take the free vocational training in there, which he thinks realistically would be more useful to him anyway... So, that's where he's coming from with all this. He's told me several times that he would like to go back to school some day (he wants to get his Bachelor's eventually when he comes home), I just don't think he wants me to be the one who pays for it...
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