OCSS Overview

Education Profile of Reception Inmates

The Ohio Central School System (OCSS) reports that the most prisoners lack the education achievement level and job skills necessary to maintain meaningful employment. Prisoners also appear to have a disproportionately high incidence of special learning needs. For example, 7.7 is the average educational achievement grade level recorded for these reception inmates.

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) reports reveal that 30%of the male population and 20% of the female population function below a 6.0 reading level and are considered functionally illiterate. In addition, 61.2% of the males and 73.6% of the females were not gainfully employed prior to incarceration; 80%of the inmate population does not hold a verified high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) diploma; 50%have suspected incidences of learning disabilities, while 16% to 18%of those prisoners under the age of 22 may qualify for special education services.

Accomplishments of the Last Decade

  • Over 21,000 DRC inmates have completed tutor training.
  • Over 13,000 prisoners have earned their literacy certificates. The DRC Adult Basic Literacy Education (ABLE) Program is the largest program in the State of Ohio.
  • Over 20,000 prisoners have received a high school diploma or GED (high school equivalency) diploma. The Ohio Central School System has more GED completers than any program in Ohio.
  • Over 12,000 inmates have successfully completed Career-Technical (vocational) trades training. OCSS offers certification in over 120 separate institutional training programs recognized by the Ohio Department of Education, in accordance with the standards and guidelines of that agency, making OCSS one of the largest vocational schools in Ohio.

Education Cost Per Inmate

In Fiscal Year 2006, the cost per student enrolled in the Ohio Central School System was $1,694 in state dollars, based on a cumulative enrollment of 24,795. The cost per student was $1,350 when both state and federal dollars are included. The student breakdown by program was $1,350 per academic student, $1,850 per career-technical student, and $1,950 per advance job training student. According to The Columbus Dispatch (April 10, 2006), the average cost for a public school student in Ohio for FY 2004 was $8,963, and the national average cost for a public school student in FY 2004 was $8,335.

Education Effectiveness

The United States Department of Education sponsored a Correctional Education Association (CEA) national study to determine the effectiveness of correctional education on reducing recidivism. This is the most comprehensive and rigorously controlled research study on the topic of education and the nation’s prisons. Ohio was one of three states involved in the study that included over 3,000 inmates. The study demonstrated that inmates who received an education while incarcerated had a statistically significant reduced rate of recidivism, which translates into a cost savings of two dollars for every one dollar spent on education in prison. [CEA 2001 Three State Recidivism Study; DRC FY 2002 OCSS Annual Report].