Resources – Preparing for Prison – Prison Education Programs

Prison Education Programs

Most Bureau of Prisons (BOP) institutions have a prison education department. These departments usually provide items such as books for leisure reading, magazines, etc…. Your loved one may also order books, magazines, or newspapers, or you can order them for your loved one.

The education department provides classes taught by other educated inmates as well as staff members. Your loved one may take these classes in order to better educate themselves and hopefully learn a new skill that will be useful once they get out of prison.  Although they will not receive college credits for these classes, they are still considered valuable programs. They will usually be recommended by the Unit Team at the team meetings.  The classes are normally labeled ACE Classes, or Adult Continuing Education Classes.

Inmates may also take college courses via correspondence at their own expense. Correspondence courses require a great amount of commitment and discipline. However, if an inmate is determined to earn a college degree it is possible.

In addition, the education department also provides individuals without a High School Diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) the chance to obtain their GED. Inmates without a GED who refuse to participate in the GED program, or drop out, will lose good conduct time. Education is important, and will make an inmate more marketable upon release. Thus, it is important to participate in prison education programs.

Some prison education departments contract with community colleges to offer vocational training. These programs give inmates the opportunity to learn a trade (e.g., electrician, mechanic, etc …) and are typically highly sought after.

The prison education department also provides “job fairs” periodically. Job fairs are beneficial because they give inmates a chance to write their resumes, develop business plans, practice interviewing, and learn other essential skills for getting employment upon release.


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