In an opinion piece published by Inside Higher Ed, Doran Larson, the Walcott-Bartlett Professor of Literature, discusses the value of allowing the incarcerated to study in prison. “Imprisoned People are Desperate to Become Students,” published on Aug. 21, addressed the multiple benefits to society of offering prisoners access to education as well as the actions of politicians that prompted these opportunities to be withdrawn in the recent past.
Larson outlines quite clearly how society gains when prisoners are allowed to study. “But the evidence is in: Not only do academic offerings return five dollars on every dollar invested; this 500% return is an investment in the communities the formerly-incarcerated will return to as more employable, tax-paying advocates for education among their families and friends,” writes Larson. “It’s an investment in the safety of prison staff inside institutions where incarcerated people will maintain clean behavior records in hopes of admission. It is an investment in public safety as the formerly incarcerated find the means to walk away from problem lifestyles.”