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Prisoner Education in Alaska

NCJ Number
K Hart
Date Published
65 pages
An analysis of the availability of inmate education programs and of program needs in Alaska's prisons led to recommendations to establish a simple and cost-effective administrative structure based on the experience of rural school districts in the State.
In 1988 a court found the State not in compliance with a 1983 settlement agreement regarding inmate education programs. The responsibility for inmate education now rests in a State division. None of the current staff are educators or people with practical experience in correctional education. In addition, program funding has fluctuated, and postsecondary programming is often unavailable. To be successful these programs need clearly stated goals and strategies, strong educational leadership, content and approach that match inmates' needs, an environment conducive to learning, and regular evaluation. Recommended changes include treating each prison as a separate school with a head teacher, improved staff training, broadened sources of funding, and granting of additional good time to inmates who participate constructively in educational programs. Footnotes and 50 references.