FAMM Releases Federal Prisoner Survey Results on Job Training, Educational Opportunities, and More

Post Date: May 31, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Rabiah Burks
rburks@famm.org
202.999.4258

FAMM Releases Federal Prisoner Survey Results on Job Training,
Educational Opportunities, and More

WASHINGTON – Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) today released the findings of the first-ever independent survey of federal prisoners, which focused on the type and quality of educational and vocational training programs, as well as substance abuse and mental health treatment, currently available in America’s federal prisons. “Using Time to Reduce Crime: Federal Prisoner Survey Results Show Ways to Reduce Recidivism” offers unique insights from inside federal prisons and includes 13 recommendations for reform.

“Roughly 94 percent of federal prisoners are going to go home one day. If they leave smarter, sober, and job-ready, they will be much more likely to thrive—and our country will be safer and more prosperous,” said FAMM President Kevin Ring. “Unfortunately, our survey found that the federal government is failing to make recidivism-reducing programming available to all prisoners who need it. President Trump’s new budget proposal, which slashes the Bureau of Prisons’ staff and corrections officers, will only make the problem worse.”

FAMM regularly corresponds with more than 39,000 prisoners via email, and more than 2,000 inmates responded to the survey. This report quantifies, analyzes, and confirms the numerous stories we have heard from prisoners over the years. FAMM found that too many prisoners are not getting access to the programs that have been proven to reduce recidivism.

FAMM will host a briefing and panel discussion on the report on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, 2:30-3:45 p.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2226.

Special guests at the briefing will be Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA).

Key findings from the report include:

  • Access to quality education is scarce. Most classes lack rigor and substance and are taught by other prisoners. Inmates reported taking classes such as crocheting and one based on the TV show Jeopardy. Attaining a college degree is difficult, if not impossible, for most prisoners.
  • Most jobs afforded to inmates are “make work” jobs to service the prisons, such as cleaning bathrooms and living spaces or dining hall services. Vocational training is popular and coveted, but is limited and only offered to prisoners who are close to their release dates.
  • Not all inmates who need substance abuse or mental health services are getting help. Two-thirds of respondents said they entered prison with a drug or alcohol addiction. In addition, more than two-thirds said they had not received mental or behavioral health treatment in prison. These types of programs should be expanded to help all prisoners in need of treatment, no matter the length or duration of their sentence.
  • Most prisoners are housed too far away from their families to maintain connections. Family connections have been proven to reduce recidivism, yet most prisoners are housed more than 500 air miles away from home. 

The report also provides 13 recommendations for policymakers to improve prisoners’ chances of success once they reintegrate into society. 

The report’s authors, Kevin Ring, president of FAMM, and Molly Gill, director of Federal Legislative Affairs at FAMM, are available to discuss the report.

If you are a journalist covering this issue, please contact Rabiah Burks at 202.999.4258 or rburks@famm.org to request an interview or more information. Register here for the briefing and panel discussion.

 

FAMM, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, promotes commonsense sentencing and prison policies that increase public safety.

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