Based on the 105 highest quality estimates included in this meta-analysis, four types of educational offerings in prisons were considered individually:
- Adult Basic Education, or ABE:Remedial reading, writing, mathematics, etc.
- Secondary Education:GED or high school diploma
- Vocational Education:Job skills training and job preparedness
- College Education:Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees
Graphic 1: Effects on Recidivism and Employment by Education Type
All forms of education appear to provide some benefit, but there is variation in their relative effects. College education reduces recidivism the most, leading to a 27.7% decrease in the probability of recidivism. This is followed by vocational education at 9.4%, secondary education at 7.2%, and ABE at 6.3%. The significant difference between college and other forms of education could be related to the different lengths of time students participate in the programs. College programs, for instance, often take multiple years for students to complete.
The impact on employment across different educational types is more challenging to estimate. ABE and secondary education have negligible effects on employment, with increases of 1.5% and 1.2%, respectively. Vocational education increases employment by 5.5%, while college programs increase employment by 10.5%. However, this effect is estimated using only a single paper, so the results cannot be stated with as much confidence.