Education Changing Lives

This little article says what every Inside-Out student knows without seeing statistics: education can change lives, inside and out. As we begin a new term here at the UO, I am reminded of how grateful I am to have the opportunity to attain a university education (especially at a school that has programs like Inside-Out). It’s time to see more movement for education inside our nation’s prisons, too.

Before spring break, Colette Peters, the head of Oregon's Department of Corrections came to the University of Oregon to give a talk focusing on education  (and she also gave an overview of Oregon's DOC) as part of the recent Prisons, Compassion, and Peace Conference. She said (and I hope I've got this right ) that while the recidivism rate is around 30% in Oregon, that number reduces to 14% for inmates with an associate's degree, 6% for inmates who attain a bachelor's degree, and 0% for inmates who earn a master's degree or higher.

While the Inside-Out experience is, and should be, measured qualitatively rather than quantitatively, these numbers still speak volumes about the power of education in general, and of course, the importance of programs such as Inside-Out. These numbers echo what many inside classmates have told me: that education gave them a new lens through which to view the world. This, of course, is true for both inside and outside students and is exactly the reason we need to see more educational opportunities for students on both sides of the prison walls.


UO Inside-Out Alumna