Why education and training is critically important in the criminal justice system

Education and vocational training programs help incarcerated people gain the skills, belief in self, and knowledge to pursue opportunities to help them stay out of prison post-release and build up communities they return to. Over 95% of all U.S. prisoners will eventually be released, so providing people the skills and self-confidence to transform their lives is critical for public safety and avoiding unnecessary future re-incarceration costs. By promoting access to education and training programs, correctional education programs reduce recidivism and help people realize their full potential.

Currently, 83% of people released from prison are re-arrested, indicating that we need to do more to provide education and rehabilitation opportunities to incarcerated learners. Prison education programs can stop this revolving door. Education and vocational training programs in prison are proven to dramatically lower the rate at which formerly incarcerated people are re-arrested and re-incarcerated. Correctional agencies can promote a more just and safe society by helping currently incarcerated people access proven education and training opportunities.

Stories from Formerly Incarcerated Learners

Dave Dahl Interview
Co-Founder, Dave’s Killer Bread

Dave Dahl co-founded Dave's Killer Bread, and the power of his story of personal transformation and success after spending years in prison helped propel his whole-grain bread brand to national prominence. Dave spent 15 years in prison. Access to a vocational training program helped him believe in himself and later to re-orient his life post-release from prison. Dave's Killer bread is now sold in leading grocery stores across the country. Dave is currently leading efforts to promote greater access to education and rehabilitation programs in prisons, to help others transform their lives.

Watch the Interview

Dameon Stackhouse

Dameon Stackhouse remembers the moment when the prison’s morning announcements included a call for applicants to a new education program. “That day,” he recalls, “was one of the most joyous days in prison, where you could feel the hope through everybody.” Dameon is now pursuing a Masters degree in social work degree at Rutgers University and plans to achieve a PhD in the field, all while staying active and fighting for the rights of incarcerated people and returning citizens. Read more about his story and how education helped him get where he is today.