#ThrowbackThursday 1963 From Hard Time to Hope: LASD’s Education Based Incarceration Offers a Second Chance to Offenders. 

Prior to the 1960’s the prevalent view of incarcerated people was that a prisoner “has, as a consequence of his crime, not only forfeited his liberty, but all his personal rights except those which the law in its humanity accords to him.” (Ruffin vs. Commonwealth) 

To create a system that reduces the rates of recidivism and increase employability, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has developed a philosophy within the jails called Education Based Incarceration. 

In 1963 (old photo), Sheriff Peter Pitchess attended the first graduating class of what was then called the Inmate Program Graduation. This was the first contract between a school district (Hart High school) and the Sheriff’s Department to provide inmates with educational and vocation programs. These type of programs have continually evolved. 

In the late 1990s, Inmate Services Bureau was established to oversee the development and implementation of traditional education, vocational training, and life skills programs to the inmates. 

In 2012, LASD Education Based Incarceration (EBI) Bureau was established to provide educational programs including GED and high school diplomas, vocational programs and life skills programs. Vocational programs include landscaping, culinary, sewing, pet grooming, computer skills and commercial painting. Life skills programs include Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, parenting, spiritual growth and much more. 

Decades of research suggests that correctional facilities with educational programs have fewer violent incidents. Also, inmates who participate in correctional education programs are far more likely to stay out of jail once they are released. EBI is not soft on crime. Its purpose is to create a culture and system of incarceration that encourages short-term and life-long learning, and reduce recidivism by increasing the educational, civic, social, economic, and life skills and engagement of participants.
In one of the EBI graduates’ own words, “The road to change begins when we choose or we’re forced to take a hard look at the way we’re living. Change is never easy and never quick. No one is ever too broken, too scarred, or too far gone to change their life, which inspired the following words. To inspire, to share in your journey, to invite you into mine, and to say how much I believe in this program, in each of you, and what it is we’re seeking by being here.” (Gary E. McDowell Jr.) 

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