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The Role of Education in Prison Reform

Prison reform is not a subject that comes up in most people’s everyday lives or conversations. However, it remains an important topic worth discussing. The positive impact prison reform can have on the lives of justice-involved individuals and their families is tremendous.

So, let’s look at how education directly aids in prison reform and the reduction of recidivism.

What is Prison Reform Exactly?

Prison reform is not an alien term, but what does it mean, exactly? Prison reform is any change made to improve the lives of the people inside prisons and help reduce recidivism. It refers to the process of making changes to the criminal justice system to improve conditions, address root causes of crimes, and promote rehabilitation.

The main idea is to focus on helping justice-involved individuals thrive upon their release from a correctional institution. As you might imagine, the idea of rehabilitating individuals instead of simply punishing them trickles down to make a positive impact on people's lives and even their communities.

The Prison Reform Movement is Collective

Prison reform is important because it recognizes that incarceration is not enough to fix underlying problems in society. Prison reform ideals can help people reintegrate into society and reduce their likelihood of re-offending.

Prison reform can take many forms. Some of the most popular programs used for prison reform include:

  • Education

  • Mental health services

  • Drug and alcohol services

  • Counseling

  • Job training

  • Reentry programs

  • Religious services

  • Dog training programs

How Education Reduces Recidivism

Before we get into all the miraculous ways education aids in prison reform and the transformation of lives, let’s take a brief look at some of the barriers to education in the prison system. Unfortunately, like with a lot of reform, there are barriers to education, including lack of funding and resources, and stigma.

If we talk about prison reform and realize everyone can truly change to have a better life, we can collectively help slow the stigma surrounding rehabilitating justice-involved people.

So, Let’s Talk About Education

Education plays a crucial role in prison reform and reducing recidivism since it gives justice-involved people the power and tools to transform their lives and break the cycle of crime.

Education provides these individuals with an arsenal to succeed. This includes developing new and useful skills, gaining confidence, improving mental health, addressing drug and alcohol issues, increasing employment opportunities, healing wounds, and ending abusive cycles.

The truth is, a majority of justice-involved individuals simply need an opportunity to succeed and change their lives. They need someone to give them a chance and a few resources to succeed.

I know this from personal experience because I have been incarcerated.

At the time, I realized how far my dreams had fallen away from me. But I eventually understood that I wasn’t defined by my mistakes, and it became an opportunity to grow.

Education gave me a second chance, and I would even declare it changed my life.

I was able to get a digital marketing certificate with the help of a program I learned about after my release. Now, I am thriving with a good job and living a much healthier and more productive life.

Education and access to it can change the lives of incarcerated individuals.

Final Thoughts

The role of education in prison reform has the power to transform lives. It does this by creating a safe place and providing a fighting chance for people who are reentering society along with the tools they need to succeed. To read about life after success stories, read this article by Stand Alone. If you’d like to support prison programs such as New Life K9s considered making a donation by visiting



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