The state spends about 10 million dollars a year helping prisoners get their GED. Is it paying off? A University of Missouri researcher says yes.

The Institute fo Public Policy at the University of Missouri says data shows that inmates who earn their GED are more likly to find a job, and less likely to return to prison. Policy analyst Jake Cronin says the population … and the cost to taxpayers … keeps increasing. The only other industry that’s increasing at a rate higher than that, he says, is healthcare.”

He says 40 percent of those in prison have not completed high school, compated to 18 percent of the regular population.

Cronin says the Missouri Department of Corrections spends about $10 million dollars per year on providing resources to inmates to earn their GED … but studies show that significantly reduces the recividism rate, saving the state $20 million a year.

“Employment proves to be the strongest predictor of not returning to prison that we found,” Cronin said. “Those who have a full-time job are much less likely to return to prison than similar inmates who are unemployed. Recidivism rates were nearly cut in half for former inmates with a full-time job compared to similar inmates who are unemployed. Inmates who take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them in prison are more likely to find a job than those who do not.”

AUDIO: Jessica Machetta reports [Mp3, 1:20 min.]