Growth in the prison population has focused attention on the educational characteristics of the adult correctional population since prisoners have lower levels of educational attainment than the general population and are more likely to have GEDs. However, enrollment in prison education programs represents one important way for prisoners to increase their skills and attainment levels while incarcerated. This study brings new and current data to bear on the educational characteristics of prisoners using the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) by examining the attainment and enrollment of adult prisoners and comparing them to the general household population and an economically disadvantaged segment of the household population that may be at risk of incarceration. We find that prisoners have lower levels of educational attainment than the general household population as well as the economically disadvantaged household population. Although fewer persons in adult correctional facilities were enrolled than in the general population, results varied by age. Young prisoners were less likely to be enrolled than young adults in the general population, but older prisoners were more likely to be enrolled than their counterparts in the general population.
This poster was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America in Washington, DC, March 31-April 2, 2011.