Literacy training and crime prevention

While poverty, unemployment, and feeling isolated or desperate may push some people into a life of crime, literacy training can provide many youth and adults with a chance to build a brighter future.

Literacy training gives young people at risk of delinquency the skills they need to find and keep jobs and escape from poverty. At least 75 of 100 adults in prison were persistent offenders in their youth. So improving the literacy of young people could have a significant impact on rates of adult crime.

Raising literacy rates in society will help to prevent and reduce crime.

Literacy training and rehabilitation

Many studies have found a link between prison-based education and literacy programs and high rates of successful rehabilitation. A Canadian study showed that prison literacy programs can reduce recidivism by up to 30%, depending on the level of literacy the prisoner achieves. In a U.S. study, getting a college degree in prison reduced recidivism by 100%.

Prison literacy and education programs give inmates a second chance at an honest, healthy, and productive life. These programs give inmates the skills they need to get steady jobs when they are released, which reduces their chances of re-offending. With literacy and other training, people return to their communities with a more positive selfimage.

They feel proud of what they have achieved, and their new skills and self-esteem help them avoid one of the main causes of criminal activity – unemployment.

The economic and social returns far outweigh the cost of providing literacy training to prisoners.