Can learning a language reduce recidivism in the US? Posted by Transparent Language on Sep 12, 2016 in Company News, Language Learning, Language News
We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with Edovo, an edtech start-up that provides meaningful learning opportunities to incarcerated inmates. Short for “education over obstacles,” Edovo strives to unlock the potential of the 2 million incarcerated Americans, most of whom spend more time watching television than anything else.
America spends $74 billion annually on corrections, but according to the National Institute of Justice, more than two-thirds of inmates are arrested again within 3 years of their release. Edovo is offered at a low daily rate per tablet, with more and more options to defray the cost via other communication rehabilitation and incentive-based education services. The fixed fee is small change in comparison to the potential payoff; a RAND Corporation study from 2013 found that education can reduce recidivism (this relapse into criminal behavior that leads to re-incarceration) by 43%.”
It’s time to shift inmates attention from the small screen to an even smaller one—the secure tablets provided by Edovo. 75% of inmates with access to Edovo use it on a weekly basis, choosing from more than 20,000 academic and vocational lessons across myriad subjects. We’re excited to add foreign languages to the mix via Transparent Language Online, which is now available to all Edovo users. Inmates can now choose to learn any of 100+ languages offered, including English for native speakers of more than two dozen other languages.
Learning a new language has obvious benefits for inmates—it’s a highly-desirable job skill for which most people simply don’t have time (or make time). Studying a language can also connect inmates with their heritage or provide an interactive group activity for those who choose to learn together. Bilingualism also has cognitive advantages that have been shown to benefit adult learners, including increased critical thinking, perception, and multi-tasking skills, all of which will be assets to job-hunting prisoners upon their release.
Access to language-learning materials benefits not only the inmates, but also the law enforcement, corrections officers, and emergency responders who are expected to perform their duties in increasingly diverse environments. Corinne Ortega, a psychologist with more than a dozen years of corrections experience, notes that “language is a primary concern […] even if a prisoner speaks English well enough to function on an everyday level, they may not possess the language skills to convey the emotional nuances that so often communicate psychological problems.” Or physical problems: “Latino inmates often report physical problems like stomach pains and headaches instead of expressing, for example, that they might be depressed.” We hope that access to English learning materials in particular will break down these barriers.
As the nation attempts to reform the criminal justice system, it’s important to think both outside and, quite literally, inside the box. We believe in education for all, including those for whom it can quite literally change the course of their life.
Learn more about Transparent Language Online and start your own self-improvement journey.