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The Ohio Central School System (OCSS) reports that the most prisoners lack the education achievement level and job skills necessary to maintain meaningful employment. Prisoners also appear to have a disproportionately high incidence of special learning needs. For example, 7.7 is the average educational achievement grade level recorded for these reception inmates.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) reports reveal that 30%of the male population and 20% of the female population function below a 6.0 reading level and are considered functionally illiterate. In addition, 61.2% of the males and 73.6% of the females were not gainfully employed prior to incarceration; 80%of the inmate population does not hold a verified high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) diploma; 50%have suspected incidences of learning disabilities, while 16% to 18%of those prisoners under the age of 22 may qualify for special education services.
In Fiscal Year 2006, the cost per student enrolled in the Ohio Central School System was $1,694 in state dollars, based on a cumulative enrollment of 24,795. The cost per student was $1,350 when both state and federal dollars are included. The student breakdown by program was $1,350 per academic student, $1,850 per career-technical student, and $1,950 per advance job training student. According to The Columbus Dispatch (April 10, 2006), the average cost for a public school student in Ohio for FY 2004 was $8,963, and the national average cost for a public school student in FY 2004 was $8,335.
The United States Department of Education sponsored a Correctional Education Association (CEA) national study to determine the effectiveness of correctional education on reducing recidivism. This is the most comprehensive and rigorously controlled research study on the topic of education and the nation’s prisons. Ohio was one of three states involved in the study that included over 3,000 inmates. The study demonstrated that inmates who received an education while incarcerated had a statistically significant reduced rate of recidivism, which translates into a cost savings of two dollars for every one dollar spent on education in prison. [CEA 2001 Three State Recidivism Study; DRC FY 2002 OCSS Annual Report].[Back to top]