Senator Kissel Proposes Making Prison Schools a Priority

September 15, 2004

State Senator John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, today said that he believes Unified School District #1 (USD #1), which provides educational programs for incarcerated individuals within the Department of Corrections , should be made eligible for Priority School District funding. According to Sen. Kissel, USD #1 experiences many of the same difficulties as the state’s Priority School Districts, such as poverty and illiteracy.

“Approximately 95% of inmates currently being held in our state’s correctional facilities will be released back into society,” said Sen. Kissel. “Many of these individuals are in need of an education, so it is important that when inmates are released they have a chance to succeed. By making Unified School District #1 a Priority School District it will enable them to secure more state funding, which is really vital in the effort to reduce recidivism.”

According to Sen. Kissel there are currently 15 Priority School Districts throughout Connecticut. Priority School Districts are determined by a number of factors including size, and proficiency testing results. Eligible school districts must include extended educational readiness curriculums, including extended summer hours and programs for reading. USD #1 consists of 18 facilities statewide. The District provided academic and vocational training to over 10,500 inmates last fiscal year, and handed out 629 GED’s, more than any other school district in the state.

“Over the past year the State of Connecticut has made a commitment to reduce prison overcrowding,” said Sen. Kissel. “By increasing the investment we make to our educational programs within the correctional facilities, the more opportunities those leaving these facilities will have when making the transition back into our communities.”
“While USD #1 may not be the typical school system, it does have students that fall into the categories such as poverty and lack of reading skills that we hold for our Priority Districts,” said Sen. Kissel. “Lack of education is one of the leading causes of recidivism, thus we should view our educational programs in our correctional facilities as a priority.”