UCARE: Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences


Date of this Version

Spring 2018

Document Type



Copyright 2018 Jayden Barth & Lisa Kort-Butler


This study examined the relationship among an inmate’s prior education level, work history, and his/her success in a prison education and training program. Success in prison education and training programs in this study was defined as a positive change in job readiness skills, selfcontrol, and self-esteem.

The study took a mixed-methods approach, based on secondary data analysis. Data came from a faithbased organization which currently facilitates a life skills/job readiness program in some Nebraska prisons and jails. (244 men, 193 women)

Quantitative Data: • No significant relationship between prior education or prior incarceration and the success in the program • The level of prior education, whether it be high school or post-secondary training, did not seem to be important to the success of the inmates.

Qualitative Data: • Essays written by inmates greatly emphasized the support system from volunteers and other classmates, and new relationships they formed • Inmates described a range of skills they either learned for the first time, relearned, or improved (e.g., budgeting, goal-setting, writing resumes, preparing for interviews) • For example, one inmate said, “With all the feedback from you guys I feel so so confident and ready to get out and go to as many [interviews] as I have to with no stress or worry.”