DALLAS, Texas (October 21, 2019) – Securus Technologies is committed to reducing recidivism, and education provides incarcerated individuals with the tools they need for success upon release. Over the years, Securus Technologies has provided over 140,000 incarcerated individuals with education courses and more than 11 million downloads of self-paced educational content. Additionally, through a partnership with Ashland University, students have earned more than 50,000 college credits and hundreds of degrees.
This fall, the university has more than 1,800 new students enrolled in the Securus Technologies Lantern program, the first learning management system (LMS) built specifically for corrections. Lantern is also the largest digital education program in the industry. For over three years, Securus Technologies has been partnering with Ashland to provide educational content to correctional facilities around the country.
“This fall, we enrolled incarcerated students across six states in Lantern. Education gives people hope and a chance at starting a new chapter once released. Before the opportunity to enroll in college courses, some incarcerated individuals did not want to bother to even get their GED. However, the chance to earn a college degree will directly impact their chances on securing employment after incarceration – and that is game changing,” said Todd Marshall, Ph.D., Vice President for Continuing and Adult Studies at Ashland University.
Securus Technologies deploys its technology to correctional facilities across the country through digital tablets to help prepare incarcerated individuals for reentry. Users have the opportunity to learn important job skills and access education at no cost to them, not only to improve their lives, but also to better their communities. Since the program’s inception in 2016, Securus’ Lantern has expanded each year, making education available on a massive scale in corrections. For example, in Florida, 30,000 incarcerated students were onboarded in the last two months. In California, 5,000 incarcerated students have enrolled in courses in the past six months. The program continues to impact lives in a positive way around the nation.
“Education is one of the most transformative tools we can offer to the incarcerated. Today we celebrate the substantial accomplishments of our Lantern team and the impressive achievements of the thousands of incarcerated students enrolled in the program,” said Robert Pickens, CEO of Securus Technologies. “This is just the beginning. Securus has the infrastructure and footprint to make education accessible in all the correctional facilities we serve, and that’s what we aim to do.”
“The momentum continues as we are expecting significant growth in five states in the next 12 months. There is a demand from prison officials and especially from the incarcerated,’ added Dr. Marshall.
Research shows that incarcerated individuals who complete degrees and have taken college courses have lower recidivism rates. “The technology provided by Securus delivers education on a massive scale. That’s what we need,” stated Dr. Marshall.
“To say that I am thankful for this education program would be grossly undermining the relevance of education on changing one’s life. For this, I want to acknowledge the activists who have taken the journey to bring education into existence in the prison system. I also want to thank the prison population for being strong enough to stand for furthering our educational journey,” said W.W., a Lantern student, from the Richland Correctional Institute.
The journey of hope endures. In September, a second round of schools were allowed to participate in the application process for Federal Second Chance Pell Grants. More colleges in the program, mean more opportunities in corrections to pursue degrees. “About 100,000 of the incarcerated should be in college because they have the academic ability and are in a life situation which makes it possible,” Dr. Marshall explained.
He concludes by saying that education within corrections fits his university’s mission, which focuses on transformative learning and integrity.
“No one said it was going to be easy to find a job, but education makes it easier to be successful in today’s society. I am just thankful for getting a second chance at life,” said M.A., a Lantern student, from Richland Correctional Institute.