Professor to Use Grant to Study Education's Effect on Prisoners

February 21, 2017

Kevin Roessger
Kevin Roessger

A University of Arkansas professor has received an $80,000 grant to study the effect of education on recidivism and post-release employment of Arkansas prison inmates.

The Arkansas Corrections Education State Board awarded the grant to Kevin Roessger, assistant professor of adult and lifelong learning in the College of Education and Health Professions. Roessger joined the faculty last fall.

This will be the first systematic evaluation of Arkansas correctional education within the past 20 years, Roessger said. Research of other states' systems shows adult basic education, GED preparation, vocational and postsecondary education of prison inmates reduces the rate by which inmates return to prison and increases the likelihood of being employed after release.

"Although such findings make a strong case for the societal benefit of correctional education programs, whether or not they apply to Arkansas programs is not yet clear," Roessger said. "We seek to better understand how program and participant characteristics influence the success of these programs. Finding will help inform Arkansas correctional education policy and practice and justify critical funding for increasing the availability and health of its programs."

Arkansas is one of 22 states that mandates education programs be offered to prison inmates. Roessger will look at data from the years 2001 to 2016.

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