Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

First Advisor

Vincent F. Kuetemeyer


Recidivism is a phenomenon causing growing concern. When released criminals return to crime, the costs become immeasurable. Victims can never be adequately compensated for personal losses, and the nation cannot halt the spiraling costs of maintaining prisons housing mostly repeat offenders. The nation is spending upwards from 98 billion dollars on crime, annually. Public opinion opposes education for inmates, yet, with the nation's prisons operating near capacity, a millennium approaches that promises another wave of prison construction resulting in exponential leaps in the costs of incarceration. A marketing concept asserts that attracting people to a product is half the battle. Since repeat offenders are a "captive" audience, they should be simply directed to treatments that reduce their tendencies for subsequent failure in society. Dating back to earliest civilizations, incarceration is not a new concept, yet, discovery of the "cures" for criminal tendency and recidivism remains elusive. The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between the reduction of recidivism and the completion of a post-secondary vocational education or GED course. The ex-post facto research was conducted using data on inmates released from the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women between 1990 and 1994. The participants included 130 inmates completing education courses and a sample of 130 education non-participants. Variables linked with the reduction of recidivism included: Completion of a Vocational Education Course, Number of Prior Felony Convictions, and Age at Release. Specifically, this study showed that vocational education course completers tended to have lower recidivism rates as compared with education non-participants, with older inmates, and with inmates having fewer prior felony convictions. An additional finding suggested that education course completers who did recidivate tended to stay out of prison one year longer than education non-participants. Further, the study supports a three-year follow-up period for use in recidivism research. A model was developed using a discriminant analysis. The model correctly classified 61.5% of the participants. The study involved an extensive review of literature leading to a rationale for the design. Detailed procedures are provided to assist in the development of future recidivism studies.