Human & Machine• EDUCATION

Educational Tech Behind Bars

Making sure everyone incarcerated has free access to education.
Leanna Johnson
Educational Tech Behind Bars

AMERICAN PRISONS HOUSE over 21% of the world’s inmates, and according to the United States Sentencing Commission, the rate of recidivism for repeat offenders is 1 in 4. A 2013 study by the RAND Corporation found that participation in educational programs resulted in a 43 percent reduction of inmates returning to prison, and significantly increased their chance of employment after rejoining society. More and more correctional institutions and systems are looking to carceral technology for educational initiatives. 

The prison-tech start-up Edovo raised over $9 million earlier this year to scale its secure wireless educational program for prison inmates and staff. The Chicago-based company delivers an incentive-based learning platform, with educational content ranging from literacy materials to college coursework, vocational training, and therapeutic tools. Inmates are assigned tablets connected to a private network with access to curated programs, curricula, and media. Incentives include certificates and entertainment programs, and inmates can continue their educational progress on any connected device after they leave the facility. 

Edovo currently operates in over 50 facilities across 20 states and has given more than 50,000 people access to educational, vocational, and wellness content. By the end of 2018, Endovo plans to be present in all but five states and develop a communication channel for the incarcerated and their loved ones.