October 18, 2011
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Contact: Gretl Plessinger
The number of Florida state inmates earning General Educational Development (GED) certificates has risen for the fifth year in a row, increasing from 1,313 in FY2006-07 to 2,930 GED certificates earned in FY 2010-11, a 123% jump. That increase only reflects the number of inmates who passed all five parts of the test: reading, language and writing (including an essay), math, social studies and science. Many more inmates passed sections of it and will be retaking those sections to complete their GEDs in the coming year.
There has also been a 20% increase in the number of vocational certificates earned by inmates in the last fiscal year, from 1,850 in FY 2009-10 to 2,217 certificates earned in FY 2010-11.
"Studies have shown that inmates who have a GED when released from prison recidivate at a rate 7.9% less than inmates overall, meaning fewer victims and more productive members of the community," said Secretary Ken Tucker.
Studies also show that those with vocational certificates are 17% less likely to return to prison than those without certificates. Inmates participating in vocational programs are also more likely to stay out of trouble while in prison. Of the inmates in prison on June 30, 2011, those with a vocational certificate were 35% less likely to have received a disciplinary report in Fiscal Year 2010-11 than inmates without a vocational certificate.
A recent study by the Department's Bureau of Research and Data Analysis indicates the overall recidivism rate of Florida inmates has dropped from 34% to 30%. The study shows that 30% of inmates released in 2007 and followed for three years through 2010 returned to state prison in Florida, compared to a return rate of 34% for inmates released in 2003 and followed from 2004-2006.