This article describes the Sheriff's Department correctional education programs at the Suffolk County House of Correction and Jail. It points out the tremendous need for educational services given that more than 60 percent of those incarcerated in these institutions are high school drop-outs, and a much higher percentage are functionally illiterate. Because 95 percent of those incarcerated at this facility will return to their communities within three years, educating prisoners serves as a constructive and cost-effective means of preventing recidivism and an effective investment in public safety. The authors also discusses the new Mandatory Literacy Law, which essentially links literacy with parole and other institutional privileges. Finally, the article suggests that the success of these tightly controlled and highly structured programs may provide important lessons for those charged with repairing the broken down Boston public school system.



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