Texas Removes Bachelor’s Program for Female Inmates But Not For Male Inmates
By 2020, Texas Department of Criminal Justice will eliminate all bachelor’s degree programs for female inmates. The four-year degree programs offered by Texas A&M University-Central Texas quietly stopped taking new female students back in 2017. The program offered three bachelor’s degrees for female inmates, one in business administration and two in liberal arts.
Male inmates can choose between several bachelor’s degree programs, one master’s degree program, and certifications for welding, carpentry, and computer technology. Male inmates get to choose from a list of 21 professions.
This move widens the gap of educational opportunities between male and female inmates incarcerated in TDCJ prisons.
TDCJ spokesman Jeremy Desel stated TDCJ is working to save the program. However, he only said this after being peppered with questions on why just the women’s degree programs were being eliminated. He was quick to point out that women had other educational opportunities through technical courses, job certifications, and rehab options. Mr. Desel neglected to say, or maybe he didn’t know, that female inmates have extremely limited access to these programs.
It is not clear how many students would miss out on the four-year degree programs once the program ends.
Lindsey Linder, an attorney who authored a report on The Treatment of Women in Texas’ Criminal Justice System in April of 2018 for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, stated that the female inmate population has increased fourfold since 1993 and the gender disparities have widened dramatically.
Women are already behind the curve in salaries and education. Removing access to an education for incarcerated women only creates more problems and does nothing to reduce recidivism.
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