The New Times (Kigali)

6 November 2012

Rwanda: Education in Prisons Is a Necessity

editorial

LAST week Prisons authorities revealed that they have asked the Education Ministry to consider approving their curriculum to pave way for national examination centres in prisons. However this request is yet to be granted according to Mary Gahonzire, the deputy commissioner for the Rwanda Correctional Centre.

Documented research shows that education in prison is a sure way of reducing crime and equipping inmates with lifelong skills. Studies on prison education reveal that inmates who took classes while in prison, either vocational training or classes at high school or college level, are less likely to go back to prison within the first three years of release.

Crime reduction is an indirect result of inmate education as proven by the findings. Inmates who participate in programs inside the prison, such as vocational training get marketable skills and this helps to reduce recidivism or repetition of criminal behavior patterns.

Misconduct is also effectively reduced by these programs because emphasis on personal responsibility, respect and tolerance of others are being taught. Crime reduction is not only the direct result of prison education. Another is financial savings on prison budget.

Documented studies show that for every dollar spent on inmate education; two dollars that would cover the cost of re-incarceration are saved. Based on the results of these studies, prison education contributes to reduced recidivism. The society's welfare is positively impacted when inmates acquire education. This translates into moral as well as financial benefits for the taxpayers as well. Supporting prison education in any way possible by all stake holders will go a long way in checking crime and imparting skills especially among the youth who comprise the biggest percentage of criminals and they are more prone to commit crime.

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