COMPARING SERIES-BASED VERSUS SINGLE INSTRUCTION INMATE EDUCATION

G. Murza. UF/IFAS Extension Osceola County, Kissimmee, FL.

Situation: In 2012, the rate of jail admissions in Florida was just under 6,000/100,000, slightly higher than the national figures (Vera Institute of Justice). The average length of stay in Osceola County was 30.6 days, and has not changed much since then (Osceola County Corrections Volunteer Orientation). In the county, some inmates have access to such privileges as snack purchases from commissary and educational programs. However, they lack the opportunity for physical activity, getting about 20 minutes per week of recreation time. Educational programs are offered to most inmates, but are especially valued to those inmates who receive “gain time” – time off of their sentence. Methods: The types of programs taught over the past six years have included both series-based and single instruction formats for wellness education. Single instruction wellness classes are delivered once every other month. Results: Wellness series’ have shown more success than single instruction, with over 90% of inmates showing knowledge gain. The same results are lacking with single instruction classes. Conclusion: Results have been promising, but showing behavior change in the jail can be an important indicator of the choices they may make upon release. Inmates enrolled in a series have multiple times to receive and practice the information they learn in class; whereas classes held every month are most often taught to different inmates, making evaluation more difficult. Therefore, wellness classes will be series-based again to catch this information. Other types of class formats may also be beneficial, for example, pairing nutrition and physical activity, and nutrition and gardening. These formats will be explored and evaluated.

 

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