Stephanie Cage Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Stephanie Cage

for the degree of Doctor of Education

March 22, 2018 at 12:00 pm  / 123 Ball Hall

Major Advisor: Wendy Griswold, PhD

Education on the Inside: Incarcerated Students’ Perceptions of Correctional Education Programs

ABSTRACT: The United States has alarmingly high incarceration and recidivism rates. Many of those incarcerated have less education than their general population counterparts. Correctional education programs have a proven ability to reduce incarceration and recidivism rates by helping rehabilitate people. Current research on incarcerated students primarily focuses on the external benefits of correctional education programs such as recidivism. A limited amount of research is represented in the literature on incarcerated students’ perceptions about their academic experiences. The purpose of this study was to explore incarcerated students’ perceptions regarding their correctional education experiences. The study particularly investigated students at a Louisiana correctional institution. A qualitative case study methodology was utilized to examine the lived experiences of seven incarcerated students who participated in semi-structured interviews, which were analyzed using thematic content analysis. The study found that several barriers prevented students from earning a high school diploma prior to incarceration. Findings of the study indicated ways in which incarcerated students are motivated to participate in correctional education programs. Study findings revealed how students’ self-reflections have shaped their academic experiences. Findings in this study will have implications for practice and policy by providing an understanding of the issues incarcerated students encounter. Recommendations for future studies were made based on outcomes of the study and address ways in which research could be expanded to address the existing knowledge gap regarding incarcerated student perspectives.