The Effects Of E-Learning On Prisoner Recidivism Dr. Kimberley Garth KAGL and Affiliates, Elk Grove, CA, USA Dr. Joseph Francom Computer Information Technology, Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, UT, USA E-Governance, Technology and Education Conference, Las Vegas, 2009
•Research indicates that when a prisoner is returned to society that readiness for successful reentry depends on many factors such as oEducation Programs oVocational Training Programs oWork Programs (Traditional Industries and Private Industries)
Research ofAmerican prisonersindicates a linkbetween educationand crime, or“street crime”(drugsells, possession,other) and reentrysuccess (Silverburg,et. al, 2008; Steurer,2003; Tolbert andKlien, 2007). Chart II, Relationship between Education and White-collar Crime
Statistics indicate more • Excons Leave Prison and Returnsthan 50 % of ex- Homeoffenders recidivatewithin the first 12 monthsof release from prison.Nearly 3/4ths fail to getjobs and becomecontributors in the familyand community (Bureauof Justices Statistics,2008; NAALs Report,2003)There’s a strongassociation betweeneducation and excons’success.
•The demand for •ELearning has a vital technology-delivered role in mediating the education to inmates is excons successful not new, but advocates reentry back into the want to prevent high community . parole failure due to low literacy and •Prison-based education using improve reentry.•Purpose of our computer technology may be statistically research. significant to
Rehabilitation Theory focuses on psychotherapy,counseling, vocational, work training and education. Technology Learning says “Learning through ‘discovery’ is best supported through ‘interactive’ media of the field trip… This is the richest mode oflearning and of course, the most expensive, requiringboth the intimate involvement of the teacher, and the ‘teacher constructed worlds’” (Laurillard, p. 44).Task Technology Fit Theory focuses on interactivity between user and computer; developing computer-
Accurately defining computer- or technology-assistededucation for prisoners was problematic. What exactly iseLearning in a prison setting?ELearning is defined as: •use of technology as an instructional medium; •a way to convey pedagogical material to the student inmate •Literature review refers of corrections research uses terms as “education technology” or computer-aided instruction.ELearning is the use of any form of technology to enhanceInstruction; including use of: • computers, networks, the world-wide web, streaming video,streaming audio, chat or discussion boards and forums.
•Security IssuesKargl, Futschek, andKalinyaprak (2005),suggest that the eLearningis a “suitable andeconomic answer toeducation in prisons,” buttwo main security issuesmust be addressed:Network infrastructure and
• Cogburn’s (1990) study • But insufficient data onof adult prisoners at Rikers computer-assistedIsland Prison in New York, education, especially onFound that prisoners with eLearning and improved“vocation education”—i.e. prisoner learning gains.Emphasizing work-relatedLiteracy do better than • Literature mentions thatthose without education. essential to adult learning is relevancy and interests; from the behaviorist theory also vital is learning through Reinforcement.
The US Department of Justice surveyed correctionsprofessionals who indicated a “strong interests” in the topicof prisoner education and technology usage.Politicians base decisions to support (or oppose) policies topromote prison-based education based primarily on onefield of research, which is corrections.The benefits of an interdisciplinary approach to “whatworks” in prisoner reentry is to invest in gaining researchinformation from two fields—corrections and informationtechnology. Klein and Tolbert (2007), argue for quality ofeducation, using this approach.
• In this study we attempted to identify any strategic goals that would sustain the growth of eLearning education in American prisons; research is limited and insufficient.• A successful eLearning program in any setting should minimally have the following two component1) A good instructor to engage the learner and toteach;2) An easy to learn course management system(CMS) for non-technologically oriented students sothat they don’t get lost in the tools and frustrated withthe eLearning mode.
• “Correctional education programs are intended to break this cycle of catch- and-release by giving inmates the skills they need to succeed in the workplace and the community.• Research indicates a lack of vividness defining the essential features of a prison-based eLearning model in which prisoners can gain an education and achieve desired learning outcomes (Valacich and Nicholson, 2008). Also, the• continuity of using the same teacher behind bars and in the community is an issue that our research could not examine:• Can teachers work through the local educational agency/district in which the excon is returned to continue education?• If so, how might technology facilitate the continuity of learning?• We caution the reader to conclude that inmate participation in eLearning is correlated to lower recidivism and improved reentry; although, there is an association. Additional research is required to produce baseline measures of the inmate populations involved in eLearning, for policy outcomes and to set program standards that facilitate and not retard prisoner learning using
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