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Program Profile: College Program at Maryland Correctional Training Center (MCTC)

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on August 22, 2017

Program Summary

This program offered postsecondary education for incarcerated individuals to reduce or break the cycle of continued or repeated criminal behavior. The program is rated Promising. Participants in the program had a statistically significant lower rate of arrests for a new crime than comparison group members.

Program Description

Program Goals
The College Program at the Maryland Correctional Training Center (MCTC) was a voluntary in-prison program enabling incarcerated individuals to participate in postsecondary courses leading to an associate of arts degree. The goal was to expose incarcerated individuals to postsecondary education with the intention of reducing or breaking the cycle of continued or repeated criminal behavior.
 
Program Eligibility
Participants were eligible for the College Program if they completed all or part of their sentences at the MCTC. To be considered for admission to the program, individuals were required to have a high school diploma or GED and take an ACT college readiness test. Those who were eligible went through an additional screening process. Participants could be dropped from the program if they failed to maintain a certain average in their coursework or if they engaged in behaviors that violated class or prison rules.
 
Program Components
The College Program was offered by Hagerstown Junior College (HJC) at the MCTC in Hagerstown, Maryland, which houses male inmates. The program was staffed and operated by HJC.
 
The College Program offered courses at MCTC, including basic reading, writing, mathematics, and study skills. In addition, the program was composed of four main tracks: 1) Accounting and Business, 2) Correctional Services/Administration of Justice, 3) Special, and 4) Other. The Special track provided participants who had engaged in postsecondary coursework prior to incarceration an opportunity to obtain the remaining credits they needed. The tracks followed a semester schedule (in which 12 credit hours per semester was considered full time) and comprised courses that were also taught on the college campus. Program participants were also provided with individualized academic and career counseling throughout the duration of the program.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Arrest for New Crimes
Blackburn (1979) found that the College Program treatment group had a lower rate of arrest for a new crime (37 percent), compared with the comparison group (56 percent) during the follow-up period; this difference was statistically significant. 
 
Parole Violation
None of the participants in the College Program treatment group and 2.6 percent of the comparison group experienced a parole violation during the follow-up period. While the results favored the treatment group, it was not possible to calculate statistical significance due to a lack of incidences in the treatment group.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Blackburn (1979) conducted a quasi-experimental study with a matched comparison group to examine the effects of the College Program at the Maryland Correctional Training Center (MCTC) on recidivism. The study sample included incarcerated males at MCTC who were released between January 1, 1970, and November 30, 1978.  

There were 189 individuals in the intervention group matched with 189 individuals in the comparison group. The comparison group was matched to the intervention group on six variables: race, age at time of release, date of release, Law Encounter Severity Scale (LESS), Environmental Deprivation Scale (EDS), and Maladaptive Behavior Record (MBR). The race/ethnicity of the treatment group was 56 percent African American, 43 percent white, and 1 percent other. In regard to age, 14 percent of the treatment group was 18 to 21, 50 percent was 22 to 25, 29 percent was 26 to 30, and 7 percent was 31 years and older. The race/ethnicity of the comparison group was 57 percent African American and 43 percent white. In regard to age, 14 percent of the comparison group was 18 to 21, 50 percent was 22 to 25, 30 percent was 26 to 30, and 6 percent was 31 years and older. The study did not indicate whether the two groups were significantly different on any of the six variables. The treatment group participated in the College Program while the comparison group did not participate in the postsecondary education program. Both groups shared common confinement experiences.   
 
Data was collected from the Education Office at the MCTC, the Maryland Division of Corrections, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Recidivism was measured as arrests for new crimes or reconfinement due to parole violations. Chi-square and t-test procedures were used to analyze the differences between the recidivism rates of the intervention and comparison groups.
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Cost

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Blackburn, Fredrick. The Relationship Between Recidivism and Participation in a Community College Associate of Arts Degree Program for Incarcerated Offenders. PhD diss. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Blackburn, Fredrick. 1981. “The Relationship Between Recidivism and Participation in a Community College Associate of Arts Degree Program for Incarcerated Offenders.” Journal of Correctional Education 32(3):23–25.

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Related Practices

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Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:

Postsecondary Correctional Education (PSCE)
Postsecondary correctional education is academic or vocational coursework taken beyond a high school diploma or equivalent that allows inmates to earn credit while they are incarcerated. The practice is rated Promising in reducing recidivism (including reoffending, rearrest, reconviction, reincarceration, and technical parole violation) for inmates who participated compared to nonparticipants.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - More than one Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types



Adult Reentry Programs
This practice involves correctional programs that focus on the transition of individuals from prison into the community. Reentry programs involve treatment or services that have been initiated while the individual is in custody and a follow-up component after the individual is released. The practice is rated Promising for reducing recidivism.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
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Program Snapshot

Age: 18 - 50

Gender: Male

Race/Ethnicity: Black, White, Other

Geography: Rural

Setting (Delivery): Correctional

Program Type: Academic Skills Enhancement, Aftercare/Reentry

Targeted Population: Prisoners

Current Program Status: Not Active

Listed by Other Directories: National Reentry Resource Center