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  #1  
Old 04-22-2020, 12:16 PM
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Post Education programs within prison

Hey everyone! I know this is a crazy time we are in right now, so I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. I'm a student looking to learn more about how effective education programs are within prisons. I know a bit about the Bard Prison Initiative and how their participants have significantly lower recidivism rates than people who did not participate.

I want to learn about your perspectives. How would your reentry have been different if you had earned a college degree in prison? If you did participate in an education program in prison, how do you feel about that experience?

Any information you have would be so helpful. I don't throwing people back in prison is the right answer, and if we can prevent it through education I think that would be life-changing for so many people. My goal is to encourage more prisons to implement these education programs if inmates or currently incarcerated individuals agree!
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Old 04-22-2020, 01:25 PM
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Old 04-22-2020, 02:53 PM
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I work in a prison and I would be willing to answer any questions you have.
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Old 04-22-2020, 03:22 PM
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I work in a prison and I would be willing to answer any questions you have.
Wow that would be extremely helpful. Thank you so much!!

So first I would like to know about if the prison you work in offers education programs, if so, how do you feel about them? If not, do you know of other officers who work in a facility with an education program and have heard anything from them?

Can you tell me a little bit about any incarcerated individuals who come back to prison after release and what you think might set them apart from the individuals who stay out?

Do you have any advice for a formerly incarcerated individual who wants to stay out of prison?

And lastly, if you prefer, we can privately message about this too. I just want to encourage as many responses as possible.
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Old 04-22-2020, 04:59 PM
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Most college/education programs are not like BPI.

Here is a bit of background on what the Obama admin. Did and why.

https://www.abajournal.com/news/arti...m_expires_soon
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Old 04-22-2020, 10:10 PM
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You might reach out to the people at Common Good Atlanta. They are made up of 50 volunteer professors that bring higher education to incarcerated people in Georgia. I had reached out to them when my son was incarcerated to see if he could assist them since he had a college degree prior to his incarceration. Their site is http://www.commongoodatlanta.com/
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Old 04-23-2020, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by cisaacs View Post
Wow that would be extremely helpful. Thank you so much!!

So first I would like to know about if the prison you work in offers education programs, if so, how do you feel about them? If not, do you know of other officers who work in a facility with an education program and have heard anything from them?
I will try to answer as many questions as I can. If I quote a number please do some independent research to verify that number before using it in a paper. Also a lot of what I am going to say is just my opinion.

Yes we do have an education program. It is multi-tiered and it offers quite a bit in various different subjects. The unfortunate thing is most inmates don't qualify for them. To access most of our programs inmates need to have a GED, that is the major road block.

Roughly 70% of inmates (this is nationwide) do not have a GED or a high school diploma. You really can't enroll someone in basic skills classes or trades classes or even college if they don't have a GED.

Our education dept has Pre-GED classes and GED classes that prepares inmates to take the GED test. That is probably the biggest hurdle is to get these guys into the classroom. Many of them dropped out of High school 10-20years ago and have a very little understanding of basic skills that we sometimes take for granted. Many don't want to take the classes.

Once someone graduates with their GED they can enroll in various courses. Some of them are trades related, like electrical, carpentry, plumbing or computers. Some courses offer actual trade certificates that would help them to get a job on the outside. These classes are hard to get and we don't graduate a lot per year.

We also have a lot of "life skills courses" that don't grant actual real world certificates. But they help with training records for programing in the prison (for halfway house time, probation and parole)

Many inmates lack basic life skills that we take for granted. Things as simple as how to write a check and balance a check book. Basic computer skills. (some have been locked up forever, some never had a computer growing up) How to write a resume, how to fill out a job application and a dozen other similar classes.

We do offer college in my prison, but it is very limited in scope and we have not had anyone graduate. it's taught by volunteers from the local community college. There isn't really a solid "major" being taught, just random 101 level courses.

We assist those inmates that are taking distance learning courses, but that is mainly on their own without our input.

Bottom line, we do quite a bit. It's never enough though. We could always hire more teachers and expand the dept. But there is always a lack of funds.
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Old 04-23-2020, 12:05 PM
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[quote=cisaacs;7817270]

Can you tell me a little bit about any incarcerated individuals who come back to prison after release and what you think might set them apart from the individuals who stay out?
[quote]

Recidivism is a beast in of itself. You can spend a whole career studying in and still not have all the answers. Like I said in my first post recidivism stands at roughly 70%.

In short why do folks come back? Not in any order, and only my opinion;

1. lack of job skills and or education.
2. lack of opportunities. (felons are shut out of a lot of programs and in short no one wants to hire felons, well very few people do.)
3. Criminal mind set/falling back into old habits.

The last one is a big deal and is not addressed as much as it should in prison.

We can force someone to sit in a classroom and get their GED and we can offer plumbing classes but if the individual continues to maintain that "criminal mind set" nothing we do will prevent them from going back to their old ways once they get released.
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Old 04-23-2020, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by cisaacs View Post
Do you have any advice for a formerly incarcerated individual who wants to stay out of prison?
How to stay out of prison? Hmm...that's a tough one. #1 the person has to change their habits. Have only positive influences in their life and know they have to fight x2 as hard as everyone else to be successful.
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Old 04-23-2020, 07:28 PM
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Bikerguy you did awesome.
I just want to add one thing I chat earnestly with prereleases: “Plan B”.
I like to ask where they going to go when crap gets hot. Tense, anxious. When they feel the only option is returning to criminal mindset and behaviors, and drugs.
Do you have a meeting, a church, a family member, somewhere to go when life falls to pieces?
Welcome home is nice, but to be able to recognize when you’re making that turn. I like to tell them to think of this conversation, the one that covered “the world sucks” reality, and find a place to get past it.
When I see guys who graduated from NYU, go out in a blaze of glory, I hope they keep it together. But more often I see them go down the same path they started on
The institutional world is run on bells and movement. You get told what to do all day.
The outside world is amorphous.
Inside you know your friends. Outside everyone has a smile, hard to read
Inside has a clear hierarchy, culture, and rules of behavior.
Outside not so much.
So what and where do you go to avoid stepping into that dark hole of easy money or self medication?
This is what I like to talk about. The cheerleader has the high point of life in HS, the rest of life is nothing compared to that high.
The graduate carries the same burden, who am I now on the outside?
Just my theories.
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Old 04-23-2020, 08:27 PM
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I want to point something out. My man's prison just released a statement on the education programs they offer and how they're going to be offered online due to COVID-19. I read it to my man, knowing he didn't have access to these programs. He still doesn't and laughed at their released statement. I spoke with a CO friend of mine in a different state, 2000 miles away. Same story. A lot of what prisons release to the public is false, there to placate the public. Be sure to get info from the horse's mouth. Ask the inmates (you came to the right place). If a DOC claims to offer something, check the validity of that offer. Also keep in mind many inmates make false claims. You will need to ask someone trustworthy, and several sources at that.
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Old 04-23-2020, 09:05 PM
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"[quote=Ms Sunny;7817405]
When they feel the only option is returning to criminal mindset and behaviors, and drugs.

The institutional world is run on bells and movement. You get told what to do all day.
The outside world is amorphous.
Inside you know your friends. Outside everyone has a smile, hard to read
Inside has a clear hierarchy, culture, and rules of behavior.
Outside not so much. "



Ms Sunny,


I don't follow you, aren't most of the prisoners on the inside in gangs that deal with drugs, alcohol, murders, rapes, gambling brackets and extortion? what is so holy and structured about that?


One the outside kids go to school their classes are structured by the schooling staff. We all go to work there's structure and hierarchy in our jobs. So i really don't follow your train of thought. I'm not trying to be disrespectful or to cause distress of any kind. Sorry if i'm missing something. But I'm just not seeing it.
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Old 04-24-2020, 01:41 AM
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[quote=Born;7817417]"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms Sunny View Post
When they feel the only option is returning to criminal mindset and behaviors, and drugs.

The institutional world is run on bells and movement. You get told what to do all day.
The outside world is amorphous.
Inside you know your friends. Outside everyone has a smile, hard to read
Inside has a clear hierarchy, culture, and rules of behavior.
Outside not so much. "



Ms Sunny,


I don't follow you, aren't most of the prisoners on the inside in gangs that deal with drugs, alcohol, murders, rapes, gambling brackets and extortion? what is so holy and structured about that?


One the outside kids go to school their classes are structured by the schooling staff. We all go to work there's structure and hierarchy in our jobs. So i really don't follow your train of thought. I'm not trying to be disrespectful or to cause distress of any kind. Sorry if i'm missing something. But I'm just not seeing it.
No problem. It’s jail culture. Not all convicted are serving their time involved with what you list. Some want to do their time quietly, under the radar, and go home. Some do get real inside, and need to find the skills within themselves to stay clean, stay focused, and remember the people places and things that affect their lives.

Some want to bring the fight in, live it inside, then go and do the same on release.
There is no one set way someone serves their time.
And for those who have participated in every therapeutic program wanting to be able to identify their triggers, find coping skills, and not want to get old and lose their loved ones while they on bid #6, you hope they make it.

There are people who do prison really well. That’s why they’re in on that 6th bid. Wanting to complain that they're not getting those early parole opportunities that everyone else gets, not realizing that they are the ones responsible for this life.

Right now I see more panic. “ I’m inside and I’m scared. “I don’t care what affiliation you are, the toughest thug curls into a ball ugly cries when he lost his grandmother.
So I can understand why you don’t get it. It’s ok.

But I’m the silent majority of correctional staff you never hear about. We go to work, we are human.
And still I have to tell grown up men to pull up their pants as I walk behind them.
Jail culture exists exclusively inside . And your loved ones know we exist. But we’re boring and don’t make good stories on the phone.
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Old 04-24-2020, 02:36 AM
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[quote=Ms Sunny;7817429]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Born View Post
"

No problem. It’s jail culture. Not all convicted are serving their time involved with what you list. Some want to do their time quietly, under the radar, and go home. Some do get real inside, and need to find the skills within themselves to stay clean, stay focused, and remember the people places and things that affect their lives.

Some want to bring the fight in, live it inside, then go and do the same on release.
There is no one set way someone serves their time.
And for those who have participated in every therapeutic program wanting to be able to identify their triggers, find coping skills, and not want to get old and lose their loved ones while they on bid #6, you hope they make it.

There are people who do prison really well. That’s why they’re in on that 6th bid. Wanting to complain that they're not getting those early parole opportunities that everyone else gets, not realizing that they are the ones responsible for this life.

Right now I see more panic. “ I’m inside and I’m scared. “I don’t care what affiliation you are, the toughest thug curls into a ball ugly cries when he lost his grandmother.
So I can understand why you don’t get it. It’s ok.

But I’m the silent majority of correctional staff you never hear about. We go to work, we are human.
And still I have to tell grown up men to pull up their pants as I walk behind them.
Jail culture exists exclusively inside . And your loved ones know we exist. But we’re boring and don’t make good stories on the phone.

Thank you for going more into detail. I appreciate.
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Old 04-27-2020, 10:36 AM
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Thank you all so much for all of your input. It is ENORMOUSLY helpful. I hate that prisons are getting "credit" for offering these programs but they are almost entirely inaccessible. But that is the system I guess.

Are you all okay with me using some of your words as quotations in my final paper for my course? I will not use even your usernames, so it will be completely de-identified but I will say that these are responses to my post in prisontalk.com.
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Old 04-27-2020, 10:39 AM
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Old 04-27-2020, 11:44 AM
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It is sincerely appreciated when our members assist us in spreading the word about the Prison Talk Online community but to state that “PTO and I are fighting this issue” is not permissible unless it has been cleared with us first.
Am I allowed to say that I posed a question on prisontalk.com and users responded with XXX insight?
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Old 04-27-2020, 11:47 AM
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I want to point something out. My man's prison just released a statement on the education programs they offer and how they're going to be offered online due to COVID-19. I read it to my man, knowing he didn't have access to these programs. He still doesn't and laughed at their released statement. I spoke with a CO friend of mine in a different state, 2000 miles away. Same story. A lot of what prisons release to the public is false, there to placate the public. Be sure to get info from the horse's mouth. Ask the inmates (you came to the right place). If a DOC claims to offer something, check the validity of that offer. Also keep in mind many inmates make false claims. You will need to ask someone trustworthy, and several sources at that.
Is it not available to him because of prior education requirements? Like some offer college courses but you need a GED to be admitted. Most prisons do offer a GED program though, so theoretically you can get the GED and then be admitted to the college. I know it's idealistic, but is it the education requirements or something else that makes the program inaccessible?
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Old 04-27-2020, 12:19 PM
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I know from talking with my son when he was incarcerated that many of the programs are extremely hard to get into. They also look at if you have any DRs. For the dog training program the guys lived in a different dorm so it was a real privilege to be accepted in it.
As to why people return to incarceration? I have to say it has been my experience through advocacy that many find prison the only place that will take them. They get released & many don't have a support system to help them transition. Housing & employment is almost impossible to find with a felony conviction. If you have no money, no job, & no place to live, what happens? You find yourself in a bad situation. You get sent back to a place where you have a bed, clothing, meals, etc. Until society makes reentry possible there will continue to be the revolving door of release to return.
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Old 04-27-2020, 12:51 PM
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Is it not available to him because of prior education requirements? Like some offer college courses but you need a GED to be admitted. Most prisons do offer a GED program though, so theoretically you can get the GED and then be admitted to the college. I know it's idealistic, but is it the education requirements or something else that makes the program inaccessible?
It's not that the programs are inaccessible. They are not offered. The prison website boasts programs that are available to no prisoner. It's a scam to placate the public who, unless they have access to someone on the inside and actually dig, will never know is false. From my understanding, this is not an isolated case. Many prisons are known to do this.
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Old 04-27-2020, 12:58 PM
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Am I allowed to say that I posed a question on prisontalk.com and users responded with XXX insight?
You will have to get permission from Admin.
You can do so by emailing prisontalkhelp@gmail.com
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Old 04-27-2020, 04:00 PM
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I know from talking with my son when he was incarcerated that many of the programs are extremely hard to get into. They also look at if you have any DRs. For the dog training program the guys lived in a different dorm so it was a real privilege to be accepted in it.
As to why people return to incarceration? I have to say it has been my experience through advocacy that many find prison the only place that will take them. They get released & many don't have a support system to help them transition. Housing & employment is almost impossible to find with a felony conviction. If you have no money, no job, & no place to live, what happens? You find yourself in a bad situation. You get sent back to a place where you have a bed, clothing, meals, etc. Until society makes reentry possible there will continue to be the revolving door of release to return.

GaReform,


I totally agree with you, But i don't ever believe that the reentry will ever be fixed or changed. I believe the penal system likes things as they are because if you look deeper you'll find that they use the prisoners for cheap labour to external companies and for the penal system that's a huge monetary kickback while the poor prisoner only gets a few cents/dollars a day for their time and effort. The government and penal system get huge kickbacks by exploiting the prisoners. As you'll see in all these links below.



The federal government markets prison labor to businesses as the “best-kept secret”


https://www.vox.com/2018/8/24/177684...-factory-labor

50 Large American Companies That Use Prison Labor



https://www.ranker.com/list/companie...evieve-carlton


The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-pr...f-slavery/8289


Corporations and governments collude in prison slavery racket

https://www.peoplesworld.org/article...lavery-racket/
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:32 AM
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[quote=Born;7817417]"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms Sunny View Post
When they feel the only option is returning to criminal mindset and behaviors, and drugs.

The institutional world is run on bells and movement. You get told what to do all day.
The outside world is amorphous.
Inside you know your friends. Outside everyone has a smile, hard to read
Inside has a clear hierarchy, culture, and rules of behavior.
Outside not so much. "



Ms Sunny,


I don't follow you, aren't most of the prisoners on the inside in gangs that deal with drugs, alcohol, murders, rapes, gambling brackets and extortion? what is so holy and structured about that?


One the outside kids go to school their classes are structured by the schooling staff. We all go to work there's structure and hierarchy in our jobs. So i really don't follow your train of thought. I'm not trying to be disrespectful or to cause distress of any kind. Sorry if i'm missing something. But I'm just not seeing it.
Here is the thing, in prison inmates are forced into this structure. Their meals are on certain times every day. Their meals are chosen for them. Time to go outside, times to be out of their cells. Times to attend classes, medical appointments, just about everything is on a timetable that they do not control.

Yes the outside world is also structured. Times for school, times for work etc. BUT we choose in insert ourselves into this normalcy of civilized life. We know we need to go to school to graduate. We know to hold onto a certain job we need to wear a uniform (uniform or certain type of clothes) and show up at a certain time for x amount of hours.

Many of those in prison made the choice early in their lives to live outside that system. Many dropped out of school and did not have steady jobs. They made the choice to live outside that normalcy and live the criminal lifestyle. Be it drugs, robbery, extortion, etc.
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by cisaacs View Post
Thank you all so much for all of your input. It is ENORMOUSLY helpful. I hate that prisons are getting "credit" for offering these programs but they are almost entirely inaccessible. But that is the system I guess.

Are you all okay with me using some of your words as quotations in my final paper for my course? I will not use even your usernames, so it will be completely de-identified but I will say that these are responses to my post in prisontalk.com.
You also have to understand (and I only use my example) is that while we offer many programs, not many qualify. Because they don't have a GED. Many can't or won't pass the GED. When I talk to guys I get. "it's too hard", "I have been out of school for 10+ years", "I dropped out in the 9th grade, I'm 35, why do I need it now?". "I have a plan for when I get out, I don't need a GED." or my favorite "I'm a convict, this is the life I know and nothing is going to change when I get out."

Without a GED we have no baseline to know if individuals can comprehend the other courses offered. Obviously a GED is needed for college. But the same goes for trade courses. Many trade courses involve a lot of reading and a lot of math. If a person has no GED and reads at a 3rd grade level how can we expect him to take a course in plumbing? Can't read, write or spell and can't do simple math? Sorry, we have limited slots, they are going to go to those that we know can handle the case load.
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