Lawmakers Hear Audit of Inmate Education System

(KCPW News)  In 2011, more than 5,200 inmates in jails and prisons throughout Utah were enrolled in state corrections education services, and more than 850 of those received High School diplomas.

On Wednesday, state lawmakers heard the results of a performance audit of Inmate High School Education. Utah State Office of Education (USOE), Associate Superintendent Brenda Hales says with the costs of inmate education totaling more than 5 million dollars last year, the state is looking at better ways to distribute funding among the programs.

“We’re now using in this decade a lot more county jails than the big facilities. It was a good recommendation by the auditors that we look at how we are funding them,” says Hales.  “Another one is to work with corrections to see what happens with students when they leave and also take a look at hours that are related to students who already have a diploma and how we are using them with students.”

Inmate education programs offered include adult high school completion, adult basic education, as well as English language courses. The audit recommends USOE policies require that priority be given to students that lack a diploma and are seeking to continue receiving adult education services.