CDCR Office of

Correctional Education

photograph of a CDCR prison

Office of Correctional Education

Automotive Repair Program
Folsom State Prison Vocational Welding Program

Ninety-five percent of California state prison inmates will be released to society. The average offender in California prisons reads at an eighth-grade level.  Education is a key to successful release and integration. Inmates who learn to read and write and those who gain a skill are far more likely to succeed upon release. Those who do not are more likely to re-offend and end up back in prison.

The California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation is committed to preparing inmates for a successful reintegration into their communities in order to reduce re-victimization and recidivism. Thirty-two of CDCR's 33 prisons maintain fully accredited schools that offer academic classes, vocational training, courses in English as a Second Language, and library activities. (The 33rd school is new and is in the process of preparation for accreditation). Accreditation is provided by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Education programs are administered by CDCR's Office of Correctional Education (OCE).

Education Reduces Recidivism

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View CDCR videos on the impact of inmate education programs

cam icon"The College Dorm"

cam iconNot Coming Back: Education Reduces Recidivism (Short Version 4:58)

cam iconNot Coming Back: Education Reduces Recidivism (Long Version 23:36)

Richard Tice, CCC Principal, receives 2010 Best Practice Award

New Achievements - Highlights

California Correctional Center Receives 2010 Best Practice Award from the California Department of Education

Academic Programs


Deuel inmates celebrate receiving GEDs
Folsom State Prison Vocational Automotive Repair Program

Academic courses through the 12th grade are available at 32 institutions. Standardized curricula aimed at achieving high school diplomas and General Education Development (GED) certificates include studies in English language, computation, analytical and critical thinking skills, and life skills.

Vocational Education Programs


Folsom Automotive Repair Program
Deuel Vocational Institution inmates celebrate receiving GEDs

Vocational education programs are also offered at several institutions to provide training so that upon release, inmates can find employment in trades such as construction, auto mechanics, computer technology, and cosmetology – resulting in national certification for certain trades.  Upon re-entering society, inmates who have learned a trade are far less likely to return to a life of crime. CDCR has 15 different vocational trades that are taught within CDCR facilities, for a total of 179 programs statewide.

Classrooms and Distance Learning

Education is provided both in traditional classroom settings as well as through independent study and distance learning.  Regular television programming is provided to enhance literacy and offer GED studies to inmates requiring basic education. Media centers can offer customized programming based on the needs of the inmate population.

Library and Volunteer Programs

Library services are also available for inmates who wish to conduct research.  Some CDCR institutions also have community programs that provide volunteer instructors and tutors for teaching literacy. 

Literacy Improvement Project

CDCR is developing measures to increase access to literacy for inmates functioning at or below a 6.9 grade level. This will ensure that offenders who leave prison are able to function on a job and in society. CDCR has been working to develop models for rehabilitative programming that reduce costs while maximizing inmate participation, including training long-term offenders to assist other inmates with one-on-one literacy tutoring. In 2010, Literacy Coordinators were added to all 33 institutions.


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