The Concept of Reducing Recidivism via College-in-Prison: Thoughts on Data Collection, Methodology, and the Question of Purpose

  • Robert Scott Cornell University
Keywords: Higher Education in Prison, Prisons, Higher Education, Correctional Education, Prison Education, Social Justice, Prison, Mass Incarceration, Recidivism


Conversations about reducing recidivism can be reductionist. This paper introduces strategies by which college-in-prison programs can collect post-release data on their students, as well as the research methods necessary to make predictive claims about the impact of such work. The question is raised: is reducing recidivism the purpose of college-in-prison? Following some speculation about the prevalence of this narrative, the paper concludes with some thoughts about alternative justifications for college-in-prison.

Author Biography

Robert Scott, Cornell University
Robert Scott is the Executive Director of the Cornell Prison Education Program.
Radical Departures: Ruminations on the Purposes of Higher Education in Prison