And that is a good thing, as we noted yesterday, expanding the mind may also expand the conscience, especially if there are good prison ministries supporting and enhancing the education.

This article from Government Technology examines the current state of prison education.

An excerpt.

Education in prison is changing. An economy that is increasingly dependent on technology-based careers has caused many prisoners to put down the blowtorch and pick up a keyboard mouse. In the northwestern-most corner of Washington state, a contract with a local community college is providing cutting-edge education programs to inmates, enabled by modern technology. In some cases, inmates who had never used a computer before are now coding, using resources provided on a local network loaded with much of the educational content found online.

The Clallam Bay Corrections Center (CBCC) and Olympic Corrections Center offer inmates courses in baking, computer game design and development, green building carpentry, horticulture, and small business entrepreneurship, among others.

Such programs reduce recidivism rates among offenders by 43 percent, according to an analysis conducted by the RAND Corp. The courses were also found to increase the likelihood of an inmate finding a job outside prison by 13 percent. A study by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy found that the benefits of reduced crime and reduced recidivism allow for a return of more than $13 per dollar invested in vocational programs, adult basic education and post-secondary education in prison.

The most important element of prison education, which is increasingly enabled by modern technology, is that offenders can leave prison with hope, feeling like they have options, said Brian Walsh, education director for Clallam Bay and Olympic corrections centers.

“These guys get this experience and it helps them change how they see themselves,” Walsh said. “They learn they can be creative. To run a bakery, you have to be able to work with other people, and they can see that their time in prison can be positive and that it’s not just a waste of time and that’s the key thing.”

Retrieved February 20, 2014 from