More Education for Offenders
It’s not just a coincidence. Over 90% of young male adults who are in prison have no high school education. Here in Vermont, we’re currently doing something about that and thanks to pending legislation (H.135), we may soon be doing even more.
First, some background. Did you know that the Community High School of Vermont (CHSVT) is the state’s largest high school? Last year CHSVT became the nation’s first prison-based school to become accredited. That was a big deal. But it’s a bigger deal that offenders who get an education have lower recidivism levels. That's why we need more educational programming in our prisons.
Our committee hopes to pass a bill that mandates education for incarcerated men and women without a high school diploma until their 26th birthday (current law says up to their 23rd birthday). For those housed in Vermont prisons, they'll be required to attend CHSVT. For Vermont's inmates who are housed in other states (due to overcrowding), they'll be required to attend classes if such classes are offered (which aren't as good as schooling in Vermont, but it's still much better than no schooling).
The cost for all of this? Either nothing or a negligible amount, says the Department of Corrections (DOC), because we’ve already got the staff – adding the students is free or practically free. With more education, DOC believes that these offenders will be more successful reintegrating into society and getting jobs, and we’ll all benefit from that.