First Comprehensive Reentry Curriculum Released
By Audrey Arthur (07/17/2013)

BOSTON — Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) has released the first all-in-one reentry curriculum designed specifically for inmate education in correctional facilities.

According to HMH, the Reentry Prerelease Program is singular as it is the only “all-in-one” inmate education program currently on the market. The program offers academic instruction, but also offers education in areas concerning inmate socialization.

“A growing body of research shows that education and training can help reduce recidivism. The Reentry Prerelease Program fulfills a critical component of prerelease practices,” said Jeff Angle, vice president of marketing at HMH. “The program helps to ensure a successful transition upon release of inmates, by equipping offenders with the basic knowledge and skills needed to reintegrate into the community.”

The program is based on federal educational standards and can be used at the local state and federal correctional levels. Developed in collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Safety and Corrections (LDSC), the program was based on the Louisiana’s state mandated inmate program. The company worked closely with Kim Barnette, state education director for LDSC, in order to supplement the state’s program.

“The program focuses not just on sharing knowledge but also on sharpening the tools to use that knowledge in real world application,” Angle said. “It is designed to be used in tandem with continuing education instruction, such as GED Prep, and focuses on strengthening reasoning skills required for sound decision making by addressing cognitive deficits associated with criminal behavior.”

Whereas correctional facilities often piece together programming and education, the new HMH program combines personal development with education to provide a holistic curriculum. The ability to educate in this manner also utilizes instructors’ time more efficiently and allows for much flexibility.

“The ‘all-in-one’ solution streamlines the curriculum process for administrators who may already be strapped for resources and time; the cohesive program is more cost-effective and time-efficient than pulling together materials from various sources, which is often the only alternative when comprehensive plans aren’t put into place,” Angle said. “Components are customizable and flexible to fit the needs of any program, but also bring quality, structured content to each lesson. Because the program is explicitly designed for correctional facilities, the materials are tailored for adult learners and can be applied to various learning levels.”

Offered through 10 workbooks, the Reentry Prerelease Program emphasizes reasoning skills with lessons in personal development; problem solving and decision-making; anger management; values clarification, goal setting and achieving; victim awareness and restitution; employment skills; job placement assistance; money management skills; reentry support resources; and counseling on individual community reentry concerns.

“HMH’s mission is to change lives by fostering passionate, curious learners. In fulfilling this mission, our goal is to support people of all backgrounds and ages with content that will make a difference,” Angle said. “We saw this collaboration as a perfect opportunity to work toward these goals by providing resources to benefit released offenders as well as their teachers and administrators.”

 
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