Can state budget cuts lead to an increase in crime? That’s the fear as adult education programs at San Quentin and other California prisons try to implement a 45% reduction in funding.
With a budget for adult services that has been slashed by 45%, deep cuts are inevitable, admits Elizabeth Siggins from the California Department of Corrections’ office of Adult Programs (left) . Here, she outlines the steps being taken as her department tries to get the maximum social benefit from the money that remains.
One of the programs at San Quentin that will feel the burden of the cuts is the Robert E. Burton Adult School. Although California does not have data specific to this state, Elizabeth Siggins says studies from other sources affirm the value of inmate education as a tool for reducing recidivism.
While the precise benefits of inmate education have not been quantified in California, the Correctional Educational Journal asserts that "every dollar spent on education saves $2 for taxpayers through reduced recidivism." The cost and effectiveness of educational programs within the California Corrections Department was examined at length in a February 2008 study by the State Legislative Analyst's Office. Included in that study is the graph below, which compares the cost-effectiveness of inmate education programs with other adult prison services.