Prisoners released from our bloated American correctional institutions return to a mostly unwelcoming society where they face onerous post-release challenges. No wonder recidivism is near fifty percent, adding tens of billions of dollars annually to the cost of American prisons. Sisyphus No More is a multifaceted argument for increasing prisoner education and training programs to promote the reintegration into society of returning prisoners and increase the likelihood of their securing living-wage jobs. By greatly reducing recidivism, the programs will pay for themselves several times over. Such programs also humanize the treatment of prisoners and help them escape the fate of Sisyphus, the mythological king condemned to a bitterly repetitive fate. The book has two parts. The first provides background on the American prison system and enumerates the tolls incarceration takes on prisoners, their families, and their communities and the costs released prisoners continue to pay that severely hinder their reintegration. In the second part, the authors set forth compelling psychological, sociological, ethical, and financial grounds for increasing education and training to support the reintegration of released prisoners. The final two chapters report on innovative prison education programs and identify steps toward making education and training a priority in our prisons.
Roger C. Byrd, EdD, Dr. Roger C. Byrd, EdD, is professor of criminal justice and political science and director of prison programs at Brewton-Parker College. Byrd is civically active through his board memberships with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Georgia, the Civic Affairs Foundation, and as a senior fellow with the Philemon Fellowship. Prior to his career in education, Byrd served twenty-two years in the Georgia House of Representatives..
Harvey McCloud, PhD, formerly taught at the University of Kansas and Washburn University and is currently the owner and principal at Clear Copy Editorial Services.
Part One: Understanding the Situation
Chapter One: Getting our Bearings
Chapter Two: Who’s in Prison?
Chapter Three: The Many Costs of Incarceration
Chapter Four: The Tolls of Reentering Society
Chapter Five: Prison Education in the United States
Part Two: Reducing Recidivism
Chapter Six: The Psychological Argument: Intrinsic Motivation, Self-Efficacy, and Postrelease Success
Chapter Seven: The Sociological Argument: Strengthening Communities
Chapter Eight: The Ethical Argument: Many Good Consequences
Chapter Nine: The Financial Argument: The ROI of Prison Education
Chapter Ten: Today’s Trailblazers in Prison Education
Chapter Eleven: Work to Be Done
The authors describe innovative practices that government and educational institutions might implement to expand opportunities and improve the effectiveness of prison education. Key elements of the argument stress that educating prisoners reduces recidivism, reduced recidivism decreases the prison population and saves money, the money saved exceeds that spent on prison education, and that excess money can be used for projects that benefit all segments of society. This book will interest policy makers and researchers as well as students and researchers in fields spanning education, criminal justice, and sociology. Recommended. All levels.
9/15/21: Byrd appeared as a virtual guest lecturer at East Georgia State College to speak about the Constitution and the topic of his book.