Incarcerated Students Find Hope in Technology

Sep 15, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Given research indicating the link between education and reduced recidivism in prison, the case for educating inmates is a strong one. Now, a new tablet-based education platform is making it easier than ever to help inmates gain access to education, according to a recent Huffington Post article. Here’s a closer look at this innovative technology, along with the vital role it’s expected to play in transforming the corrections system.

Introducing JPay’s Lantern

Correctional services company JPay has created a proprietary learning management system (LMS) which, when paired with its JP5 family of tablets, is positioned to “enable inmate education on a massive scale.”

The technology is already making a difference, according to a JPay press release: Since its launch, JPay’s Lantern has enrolled more than 70,400 incarcerated people with approximately 32,000 college credits bestowed by partnering universities. Not only have more than four million education files have been downloaded onto JPay tablets, but Lantern has helped support a staggering 456 percent increase in Georgia Department of Corrections graduation rates.

Reports one university administrator, “JPay's Lantern created digital education opportunities that never existed. Leveraging a virtual classroom platform, thousands of incarcerated students have taken basic courses, earned college credits and received college degrees.”

Supporting Second Chances

“The adoption is incredible,” says JPay CEP Errol Feldman. “With the opportunity to earn a GED or a college degree, or simply becoming acclimated to new technology, these students have much better odds of succeeding when they reenter society. Education provides hope, and we all deserve a second chance,” he continues.

And the benefits extend beyond the individuals. According to one professor associated with the program, “From a purely practical point of view, it costs much less to offer educational opportunities to inmates than it does to incarcerate them. If the system is meant to rehabilitate, then digital inmate education is clearly a cost effective way to support that mission.”

Learn more about criminal justice degrees.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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