Today, only a third of all prisons provide incarcerated people with the opportunity to attain an education beyond high school standards. San Quentin is one of these institutions – and its Prison University Project remains one of the country’s most vibrant programs for inmates, so much so President Obama awarded it a National Humanities Medal in 2015 for the quality of its courses.
The idea of expanding educational opportunities to incarcerated individuals as a way to reduce recidivism and government spending continues to gain momentum. Credit for this is given partly to a study published in 2013 by the right-leaning RAND Corporation showing that inmates who took classes had a 43 percent lower likelihood of recidivism and a 13 percent higher likelihood of getting a job after leaving prison.
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