Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Elizabeth M. Legerski Ph. D


Being a convicted felon can limit a person's life chances. Adding a lack of education and training to that felony conviction can further limit the ability to find stable employment and transition back into society. Correctional education programs can reduce recidivism rates, but there are a wide variety of programs and not every facility offers them. This study examines the institutional characteristics that predict the availability of vocational training and college course programs in correctional institutions. The data for this study come from the 2000 Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities. Data were collected from 84 federal correctional facilities and 1,584 non-federal correctional facilities in the United States. Findings suggest that race has an effect on the availability of certain educational programs. Specifically, facilities with a larger proportion of black inmates are less likely to offer college course programs. It was also found that correctional facilities in the South are less likely to offer college course programs. These findings provide support for the "New Jim Crow" perspective, which suggests that mass incarceration is an important mechanism that reproduces inequality in the U.S.