Magazine article USA TODAY

Prisoners Lack Literacy and Numerical Skills

Magazine article USA TODAY

Prisoners Lack Literacy and Numerical Skills

Article excerpt

Higher percentages of incarcerated American adults scored at the lowest levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy skills compared with the U.S. household population, according to a report on workplace skills released by the National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, D.C. The report is designed to provide policymakers, administrators, educators, and researchers with information to improve educational and training opportunities for incarcerated adults and foster skills they need to return to--and work successfully in--society upon release from prison.

'This new survey shows that the numeracy skills of incarcerated American adults are far weaker than the numeracy skills for American adults, on average," says Peggy G. Carr, acting commissioner of NCES. "More than half of incarcerated adults lack the basic numeracy skills necessary for pursuing higher education, securing a job, or participating fully in society.

"Low skill levels can preclude successful reentry and present significant challenges for adults during their transition. The average numeracy skills of incarcerated adults are lower than even those of the unemployed population in this country."

Average numeracy scores for adults in prison are lower than adults not in prison and lower regardless of gender, race or ethnicity, age, native-born status, or educational attainment. …

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