Why Developing Re-entry Support Matters for Prison Education Programs


  • Diane Good-Collins




Rates of incarceration in the United States are among the highest in the world.  Research suggests, however, that  corrections education reduces the likelihood of someone returning to prison and peer support is an effective best practice to assist the justice-impacted population to transition from incarceration to the community. 

This reflective essay explores challenges incarcerated persons face in accessing prison education programs, as well as challenges faced by incarcerated and re-entry populations in completing their educational and career goals pre- and post-release.   As a practitioner with lived experience, Ms. Good-Collins will describe critical supports for addressing corrections education barriers and meeting the criminogenic needs of individuals transitioning from incarceration to their community. Moreover, we will discuss how to best support students involved with corrections education pre- and post-release through basic needs acquisition, viable access to education and employment services, and ongoing peer support and mentoring.   

Finally, we will discuss the logic for higher education institutions currently providing prison education programs to integrate Re-Entry Centers onto their campuses, as well as the importance of staffing them with persons directly impacted by the justice system.  Supporting evidence for this essay is gleaned from first-hand experience by the director for the largest on-campus Re-Entry Center in the United States, and its success in effectively supporting corrections education students in transitioning to the community, remaining engaged in the program, and receiving support to achieve their goals. Evidence will include contributions from formerly incarcerated facilitators, coordinators, and administrators of the Re-Entry Center.