Principles for adopting technology for best-in-class correctional education programs

Not all education platforms are the same. Nucleos provides accredited, proven best-in-class education and vocational programs, and secure learning management systems. Our platform is designed to help correctional agencies to increase access to high-quality programs, and help prison education programs support digital learning management systems and learning resources.

Maximizing access to high-quality education & rehabilitative programs is in the direct interest to the state and society, as more access to education & rehabilitation programs decreases the recidivism rate, and increases post-release success for incarcerated individuals. Improving accessibility to education and increasing the time that educational content is available encourages more participation. For these reasons, a dedicated education platform, or secure academic portal, should be developed and provided independently of communication and entertainment systems.

The following principles should be adhered to in deciding which content and courses should be provided:

Secure Internet: Endorse programs that provide access to the Internet and that have solved the issues of security and supervision. Embrace secure cloud-based education platforms. As opposed to offline models, the highest-quality content, including most accredited courses and courses with vocational certifications require online filtered access. A network allowing for online, filtered access can provide the most opportunities for analytics and integrated learning records with course content. Internet-based systems also allow for instruction, case management, tutoring, and counseling by remote instructors, among other services.
Free access: Education and vocational training content and courses should be made available at no cost to incarcerated and re-entering individuals. This will be expected to increase the time and interest of individuals in engaging with education and training programs, and ensures that access is equally available to the entire population.
In-person instruction: Education technology should be implemented in a coordinated manner with in-person instruction to help expand the reach and availability of in-person programs, and should not be considered a substitute for in-person instruction.
Dedicated devices: Education and vocational training programs should be made available on dedicated e-learning devices, which are not used for communications and entertainment purposes. This expands the time available to learners to engage in coursework.
Expandable platform: The platform used to provide education and training content should be able to easily integrate content from a wide-range of sources, and must be able to leverage online content and programs to take advantage of the highest-quality proven courses and applications, digital testing, and vocational certifications. Online platforms also allow for critical remote communication with instructors in the event of facility closures or lockdowns.
Accredited courses: Whenever possible, e-learning courses and content should provide access to accredited programs that lead to the earning of widely-recognized diplomas, degrees, certificates, and occupational licenses.
Personalized learning: All courses and programs should be aligned to individual rehabilitation case management plans and reentry goals. Education progress and records should be kept, and should follow incarcerated learners across facilities.

Supporting in=person instruction

Technology presents an opportunity to expand access to a greater breadth of learning opportunities to incarcerated people, drive process efficiencies for correctional staff, and increase the amount of time learners can be actively engaged in coursework. It is important to acknowledge that even as agencies look to implement digital education programs, expanding access to in-person education programs still needs to be a top priority for correctional agencies. However, the choice between in-person and digital education is a false dichotomy.

Both in-person programs and digital access must be employed to realize a best-in-class correctional education program. Embracing current technology puts incarcerated learners at a distinct advantage in the job market and increases the odds of successful reintegration. Education technology can enable correctional agencies to meet their expanding rehabilitative and programming needs, while supporting existing staff and classroom resources.