The cost of incarceration is so high because inmates frequently find themselves stuck in a cycle of incarceration, rearrest, and return to prison. A National Institute of Justice study found that within three years of release, about two-thirds (67.8%) of released prisoners were rearrested. However, if we can break that cycle and prevent inmates from returning to prison, we can provide relief to taxpayers who are forced shoulder the costs associated with incarceration.
Education can help break this cycle. Providing inmates with an education drastically reduces the likelihood that they will reoffend and return to prison. For example, when inmates receive vocational training, the recidivism rate drops to approximately 30%. With an associate’s degree, recidivism drops to 13.7%, and with a bachelor’s degree, it drops to 5.6%. Once an inmate receives a master’s degree, the recidivism rate is so low that it’s effectively 0%. It’s simple – if inmates can live a meaningful, productive lives after serving their sentences, taxpayers won’t be forced to pay for their incarceration.