Califoria is planning to lay off 330 prison educators in the coming year, hampering inmate instruction to read at the ninth-grade level as state law requires. The layoffs would cut the prison education staff by 20%, further shrinking academic and vocational offerings behind bars, says the Los Angeles Times.
Thousands of inmates are on waiting lists for courses in basic education, literacy or one of 46 trades, from welding to air-conditioning repair. Prison officials say they can provide access to such courses for only one fourth of California’s 159,000 convicts.
The budget ax is hitting education because other expenditures are considered more vital to the penal system.