The Benefits of Providing Information Programming in Correctional Facilities

Written by Dan Star

The Benefits of Providing Information Programming in Correctional Facilities 

Providing information programming in correctional facilities is a prevalent practice that is backed by well-documented studies. Investing resources in information programming optimizes correctional facilities as an institution while providing a multitude of benefits to the encompassing society. 

Information programming in the form of educational and employment programming reduces prison misconduct, improves post-release employment outcomes, lowers recidivism, and offers a high return on investment. 

Since prisoners are oftentimes less educated, information programming curbs this trend by acting as a catalyst for learning and reform. To set up information programming starting today, you can contact Groove Technology Solutions which is a reliable provider of information programming for facilities like yours. 

The Benefits of Providing Information Programming in Correctional Facilities 

One of the main goals of information programming is improving the behavior of prisoners. This does not only apply to prisoner behavior inside the facility, but also behavior outside the prison post-release. Making prisoners less of a danger to themselves and others is vital for ensuring a safer environment. 

There are four main benefits information programming offers can offer to your correctional facility: 

  • Reduces prison misconduct: Prison misconduct is defined as the failure of prisoners to follow rules and regulations. This behavior varies widely from violent assaults to the possession of drugs. Reducing prison misconduct is important for maintaining a controlled and safe environment within facilities.
  • Improves post-release employment outcomes: After a prisoner’s sentence is complete there is not any guarantee they will not engage in further offenses. Ensuring that offenders are properly educated and have employment options outside of facilities drastically reduces the likelihood of recidivism. 
  • Lowers recidivism: Recidivism is the tendency for offenders to reoffend at some point in the future. Informational programming interventions lower the propensity of prisoners to make offenses post-release.
  • High return on investment: The failure of correctional facilities to teach prisoners how to behave and establish a more functional mode of being is a costly affair. Informational programming reduces the costs of maintaining correctional facilities by lowering the chances that released prisoners reoffend and return back to the facility. 

To make correctional facilities more functional institutions, information programming is a valuable resource as a tool of reform for prisoners. Information programming not only improves the operations of facilities, but helps prisoners reintegrate into society as more functional and productive people that have something to offer. 

Educational and Employment Programming

Up until now, we have framed information programming as the primary benefactor of correctional facilities. However, this information programming is more specifically referring to educational and employment programming. You can think of information programming as an umbrella term for educational and employment programming. 

You might be asking yourself how exactly each of these types of programming benefit correctional facilities. Before that, understand that educational and employment programming do not operate in the same way and improve prisoner pre- and post-release outcomes in different ways. 

Here is a brief overview of the relationships educational programming and employment programming have to correctional facilities: 

  • Educational Programming: The level of education that the average prisoner has is below average, with some lacking a highschool diploma or GED. The relationship between lower levels of education and anti-social tendencies is the primary motivator for educational programming in correctional facilities.
  • Employment Programming: Unemployment is often associated with criminality, which is why employment programming is a necessary buffer to crime and more specifically recidivism. Having a stable job is important not only for the functioning of society, but also to prevent previous offenders from engaging in future crimes.  

Educational programming and employment programming play their respective roles in making correctional facilities more functional institutions. Later in this article, we will evaluate how these two types of programming benefit correctional facilities with respect to four main dimensions: prison misconduct, post-release employment outcomes, recidivism, and return on investment. 

Benefits of Educational and Employment Programming

According to a paper written by Grant Duwe, educational and employment programming positively influence the pre- and post-release outcomes of prisoners.   

Based on evidence from Duwe’s paper, here are the most notable effects of educational and employing programming in correctional facilities: 

Educational Programming Employment Programming
Prison misconduct Mixed results; postsecondary educational programming may produce better outcomes Employment programming reduces prison misconduct 
Post-release employment outcomes Post-secondary and secondary educational programming lead to better outcomes Improves post-release employment outcomes  
Recidivism  With some exceptions, educational programming, especially post-secondary education, reduces recidivism  Results are mixed; prison labor does not lower recidivism but service delivery strategies appear to be promising
Cost-Benefit Analysis Offers a substantially high return on investment  Offers a moderate return on investment

As you can see, educational programming and employment programming both have unique benefits to offer. Collectively, these benefits amount to the benefits of information programming as a mode of delivering information that can better equip prisoners with valuable skills and knowledge. 

The Impact of Informational Programming on Society 

As a member of the National Institute of Justice, Duwe evaluates and makes revealing conclusions about the effectiveness of educational and employment programming. More specifically, he discusses how programming indirectly benefits society by improving pre- and post-release outcomes of prisoners.

The data, meta-analyses, and conclusions Duwe draws from a large body of relevant literature can help properly inform you about the benefits of information programming in correctional facilities. 

Duwe’s analysis draws from numerous studies conducted on educational and employment programming to assess the results of this programming using four dimensions: 

  • Prison misconduct 
  • Post-release employment outcomes
  • Recidivism
  • Cost-Benefit analysis

As you can probably tell, these four dimensions mirror the four benefits previously associated with educational and employment programming. These previously asserted conclusions are founded upon the vast volume of literature Duwe uses for his extensive analysis. 

Duwe not only addresses information programming, but how other intervention measures like cognitive behavioral therapy and drug-addiction programs affect pre- and post-release outcomes. You can find Duwe’s paper here for further information on these other related topics. 

Prison Misconduct and Educational Programming

According to the relevant literature, educational programming shows mixed results in relation to prison misconduct. Some studies show that educational programming had no effect and one study showed that this programming decreased the rates of nonviolent misconduct (Steiner and Woolridge, 2014). 

Part of the reason why these results are mixed is that there are many dynamic variables involved in prison misconduct. Depending on the prison location and administration, educational programming can vary in effectiveness due to differences in environment and the individuals comprising the correctional facility. 

Another variable is the type of educational programming that prisoners receive. The messages that educational programming should emphasize is moral treatment towards others and good work ethic. Indoctrinating prisoners with basic moral principles and forms of media that reflect this is necessary so they have good role models to imitate. 

The limited potential of educational programming to reform prison misconduct is attributable to numerous difficult to control variables. Unless prisoners have more direct exposure to figures whom they can emulate to learn moral behavior, there is not much educational programming can offer with regards to prison misconduct.  

Post-release Employment Outcomes and Educational Programming

Educational programming drastically improves the post-release employment outcomes of prisoners. More specifically, secondary degree programs increase the likelihood of post-release employment by over 13 percent (Davis et. al, 2013). These secondary degree programs teach college-level material in various areas of study. 

This may not come as a surprise to you, since higher levels of education are generally associated with better employment outcomes. When implemented properly, education helps prisoners and people in general acquire productive and desirable skills and knowledge that society can benefit from: better education means better life outcomes. 

Providing previous offenders with an opportunity to learn with educational programming opens the door not only to post-release employment options, but lower levels of crime as well. Teaching prisoners’ desirable skills makes the reintegration into society a much smoother process and lowers the risk of recidivism.

From an economic standpoint, educational programming helps make prisoners more marketable while also reducing the costs associated with keeping prisoners in facilities. The more marketable a person is, the higher the likelihood they will put those marketable skills to use rather than engage in crimes or other maladaptive behaviors. 

Recidivism and Educational Programming

Recidivism is always a looming risk in relation to the post-release lives of prisoners. According to the earlier study, educational programming greatly contributes to the reduction of recidivism by an astounding 43 percent (Davis et. al, 2013). Educational programming translates into less crime on the streets for released prisoners. 

Keep in mind that other studies arrive at different numbers with regards to reductions in recidivism. However, Dowe makes clear the literature still points toward an overall trend that suggests a decrease in recidivism after different educational programming interventions. 

When prisoners are given the opportunity to learn valuable skills and knowledge, this reduces their likelihood to commit crimes going into the future. Most prisoners take any chance they can get to reintegrate back into society, and educational programming makes this transition more than possible. Education is curative for them. 

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Educational Programming

A cost-benefit analysis of educational programming suggests that educational programming offers high returns for every dollar spent. Numbers taken from one study shows that a return on investment of $19.62 was associated with educational programming in correctional facilities (Aos and Drake, 2013). 

As previously mentioned, if your facility implements educational programming this leads to lower rates of recidivism and better post-release employment outcomes. Consequently, this results in less prisoners going back to these facilities due to offenses committed after being released. 

Educational programming generates large cost-avoidance estimates in two ways: 

  • Reducing the costs of maintaining correctional facilities by lowering rates of recidivism 
  • Converting prisoners into more functional members of society that play an active role in the economy

The costs associated with maintaining correctional facilities is high, and for some investing capital in educational programming may seem wasteful. However, studies show that in the long run this programming has a high return of investment since it drastically reduces recidivism and the costs of holding repeating offenders. 

The more success prisoners experience post-release as they get jobs and reintegrate into society means less future expenses for your facility. You no longer would need to pay for the expenses associated with holding prisoners (e.g. food, shelter, etc.) since they would no longer be the responsibility of your facility.  

Prison Misconduct and Employment Programming 

Unlike with educational programming, employment programming is known for reducing the number of infractions prisoners commit and reducing prison misconduct (Duwe 2017). Work release and other prison labor activities are important aspects of employment programming that are very impactful. 

Work release is the practice of temporarily allowing prisoners to work for an employer outside their facility. This gives prisoners real-world experience and practical skills that they can bring to the job market later when they are released. This is the most impactful aspect of any good employment program. 

Oftentimes, prisoners struggle with mental health problems and other life struggles. This is why employment is vital for their survival when released back into society, because having a stable job anchors them in the world and society. Educational programmings tap into the redemptive qualities of prisoners seeking a better life.

Employment programming is very effective in reducing prison misconduct since it requires prisoners to be industrious and focus on manual tasks at hand. Having a stable job inside and outside correctional facilities is important for making the transition to every society more successful.

Post-release Employment Outcomes and Employment Programming 

Typically, employment programming improves post-release employment outcomes for previous offenders by instilling them with valuable skills and knowledge. Getting prisoners in touch with job specialists also helps them negotiate with employers who accept ex-offenders. 

There are two major factors that contribute to positive post-release employment outcomes: 

  • Work release: work release is a critical component of employment programming as this gives prisoners real-world working experience. The skills they learn during work release are oftentimes directly transferable into job opportunities they can find post-release. This makes all the difference in prisoners’ employment outcomes.
  • Vocational schooling: Through secondary degree programs, prisoners can get training in specific job fields of their interest. This is very motivational for prisoners and helps to ensure they find jobs they are interested in post-release. Additionally, vocational schooling helps to decrease rates of recidivism. 

Since employment programming gives prisoners opportunities to learn new vocational skills, this greatly increases the likelihood of them finding a stable job. A stable job is necessary to ensure they are not tempted or diverted from socially acceptable life pursuits that do not involve crime. 

Recidivism and Employment Programming 

Employing programming is not effective at reducing recidivism, especially when compared to educational programming. The available data surrounding employment programming is mixed, with work release only ensuring a moderate decrease in recidivism. 

Using employment programming in your facility helps to ensure prisoners find job opportunities after being released, but this does not reduce their likelihood of committing future offenses. This may seem counter-intuitive, but this is what the empirical evidence shows. 

Possible explanations for this is the lack of a moralizing element to employment programming. With educational programming, there are opportunities to teach prisoners valuable lessons about how to behave and not to behave. With employment programming, all this does is keep prisoners busy while in a correctional facility. 

This is why employment programming is great for reducing prison misconduct, but fails to reduce rates of recidivism. Keeping prisoners busy with different tasks or teaching them different vocational skills does not guarantee that they will make smart, ethical decisions once they are released back into society.

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Employment Programming

The return on investment with employment programming is not nearly as high compared to educational programming, but is still moderate with a ROI of $4.74 (Aos and Drake, 2013). This number is lower due to the higher rates of recidivism associated with employment programming. 

The minimal impact employment programming on recidivism reflects in the lower return on investment. When prisoners make offenses post-release this often leads them returning to the correctional facility and there are costs associated with this return. 

Alternatively, the job opportunities that employment programming sets up for prisoners is the most prominent booster of this ROI value. Ensuring prisoners that are marketable and can find employers post-release is an important part of this process. 

Community-oriented employment programs are shown to increase this ROI value through an emphasis on work-release, which gives prisoners more exposure to real-world jobs. This is something worth considering when managing a correctional facility and finding ways to optimize the costs and benefits of programming.


There are strengths and weaknesses to employment and educational programming, but collectively they demonstrate how information programming greatly benefits correctional facilities. When implemented properly, information programming gives prisoners more opportunities to become productive and socially desirable. 

If you are looking to revamp your facility’s information programming, then you can rely on Groove Technology Solutions to meet your needs by contacting them here. Groove Technology Solutions stands apart from their competitors by providing excellent, friendly customer service, with a service area that covers all 50 states.