Correctional Education in Washington State

On July 1, 2002, the State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC) entered into an Interagency Agreement with the Washington State Department of Corrections to provide educational services to eligible offenders incarcerated in the state’s 15 prisons. The SBCTC has sub-agreements with nine community colleges, which operate programs within the confines of each prison facility.

Most of the men and women entering correctional facilities lack the literacy and employment skills needed to succeed in our communities upon release.

Correctional education programs benefit all citizens of Washington State:

  • Offenders who are provided opportunities to gain job skills are much more likely to be successful in the community upon release. A successful ex-offender contributes to the community by working, paying taxes, making restitution payments, and supporting other family members.
  • Educated offenders are statistically less likely to commit additional crimes upon release. There is a direct correlation between education level and recidivism: the higher the education level, the lower the recidivism rate. A decrease in recidivism reduces long-term costs to taxpayers.
  • Education programs are an integral part of the “targeted interventions and seamless services” prescribed in the state’s Offender Accountability Act. Offenders who attain literacy and job skills are better equipped to find and keep employment, take care of their families, and contribute to their communities.

If you have questions or need information, please contact Brian Walsh at 360-704-4358 or

Research Reports

Research reports relating to correctional education in Washington State are found in the Research section of this site.


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