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Literacy & Prison


In today's society, the ability to read and write is the gateway to a better life. The ability to read is the most powerful tool we have to reduce the prison population, increase opportunity, and build a better future for our children. If a person can't read, they are much more likely to find themselves in the criminal justice system. When people have access to the education they need to read, they are much less likely to find themselves in the criminal justice system.


In the United States, there are nearly 2.3 million prisoners. Among those incarcerated, nearly 50 percent cannot read or write. 75% did not complete high school and are classified as low literate. Incarceration is correlated with illiteracy. Incarceration also takes a heavy emotional toll on prisoners and their families, which can make it even harder for prisoners to reenter society when they are released.


One way we could help reduce the jail population locally is to raise the average reading level locally. The Literacy Coalition has been doing that since 1988 in Howard County.

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