Lantern illuminates future for inmates

The American Press

Lantern is designed to increase educational opportunities in prisons, increase employment opportunities for inmates upon re-entry and reduce recidivism.

An online learning platform at 15 correctional centers across Louisiana is helping to reduce recidivism among incarcerated individuals. 

Since the 2016 launch of Lantern — an initiative that enables mass education of incarcerated individuals through the use of tablets and headphones — 70,400 inmates have earned more than 32,000 college credits in partnership with Ashland University in Ohio.

“Leveraging a virtual classroom platform, thousands of incarcerated students have taken basic courses, earned college credits and received college degrees,” said Jerry McGlone, interim director of the Gill Center at Ashland University. 

Developed in conjunction with the Correctional Education Association, Lantern uses a learning management system to host facility approved content, which is then downloaded and consumed by inmates on tablets.

The online program is customized for corrections with a secure route for the inmates to take tests, watch videos and talk with professors without connecting to the general Internet. The inmates learn at their own pace, on their own time, outside of limited classroom interactions.

They can earn college credit and taking GED classes.

The program is designed to increase educational opportunities in prisons, increase employment opportunities for inmates upon re-entry and reduce recidivism.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about two-thirds of prisoners go back to jail within three years of being released. 

Inmates who receive education while incarcerated are 43 percent less likely to become repeat offenders, and have a 13 percent higher chance of finding employment once released.

Programs such as this offer inmates an invaluable advantage in the re-entry process. Giving inmates educational opportunities can lead to increased literacy, certifications, degrees, and a far better chance of landing a job once released from prison.

Lantern sounds like a gateway to that positive, education driven outcome.

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