Inmate Education

The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry Education Program recognizes the importance of education in helping reduce recidivism. A continuum of education and training opportunities that address the assessed needs of Arizona's offender population are provided. These programs are arranged to assist offenders in gaining skills which lead to productive and practical work experiences while within the correctional setting and the transition back into the community upon release.

Educational services are provided in three basic program areas: Functional Literacy, GED Preparation and Work-Based Education. Accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, section 504 are offered to all qualifying offenders.

The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry offers a staff of more than one hundred professional educators who address the educational needs of the offender population incarcerated in ten ADCRR prison complexes and seven private prisons contracting with ADCRR statewide. Of these, some are academic classroom teachers who provide instruction in the Functional Literacy and GED Preparation Programs, others are Correctional Education Program Supervisors (CEPS) and Correctional Education Program Managers (CEPM) who provide on-site supervision of the education programs. There are also teachers who possess the necessary certification to provide Special Education services.

High School Program

The High School program provides instruction for offenders under 22 years of age with an educational disability and minors adjudicated as adults and sentenced to prison. ADCRR education personnel also identifies other offenders with a high probability of meeting the Arizona Department of Education requirements for high school graduation and offers them the opportunity to enroll in the high school program.

Upon completion of the Arizona Department of Education high school graduation requirements, the ADCRR Education District issues a high school diploma. Obtaining a high school diploma is an important achievement that can lead to other educational and career opportunities within ADCRR and in the community when released.

Please mail official transcripts to: Arizona Department of Corrections, School Registrar, 801 S. 16th Street m/c 800, Phoenix, AZ 85034 or, email official transcript to: [email protected]

Should you require additional information, contact the Registrar Department at (602) 771-0502 or (602) 771-0503. Fax No. (602) 771-0504.

Functional Literacy

This program targets offenders with very limited functional skills and/or limited English language development. It is designed to develop reading, writing, mathematics and others skills necessary to function in a working environment.

As mandated under A.R.S. 31-229 and A.R.S. 41-1604.07, all persons remanded to ADCRR's custody are tested upon arrival at the Reception Center using the Test for Adult Basic Education (TABE). Any offender who does not receive a minimum 8th grade score in reading, language or math on the TABE must attend Functional Literacy classes. Offenders in the Functional Literacy Program are provided basic instruction to bring their scores up to at least the 8th grade level.

A.R.S. 41.1604.07 mandates that a prisoner who fails to achieve functional literacy at the 8th grade level will not be released to begin the prisoner's term of community supervision until either the prisoner achieves an 8th grade functional literacy level or the prisoner serves the full term of imprisonment imposed by the court, whichever occurs first.

General Education Development (GED)

The GED Preparation Program provides instruction for those offenders who do not have a high school diploma or GED to assist them in successfully passing the GED test. The GED test is the same test given to the general public per A.R.S. 31-201.01. Any offender who achieves the 8th grade Functional Literacy standard, or an incoming offender who tests above the 8th grade standard, but who does not have a high school diploma or GED, may enroll in the GED Preparation Program.

Upon successful completion of the GED testing procedure, an official diploma is prepared by the Arizona Department of Education. Obtaining this diploma is an important achievement and can lead to other educational and career opportunities within ADCRR and in the community when released.

Career and Technical Education

The Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are designed to assist offenders in gaining marketable employment skills. ADCRR provides CTE instruction to offenders who are functionally literate, but have no identifiable work or employment skills. Programs range from six months to two years in duration. The skills gained though these programs may assist offenders in obtaining work within the prison setting, as well as upon release.

Special Education

Pursuant to A.R.S. 15-1372 and Federal Statutes, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), ADCRR provides educational services to minors adjudicated as adults and sentenced to prison, as well as to offenders less than 22 years of age without a high school diploma or GED who are found to be eligible for services. Inmates are evaluated upon enrollment in education programs.

Resource Centers

The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry (ADCRR) provides offenders access to reading materials though Resource Centers located at each of the prison complexes. The centers provide materials which support the academic and personal development programs offered by the Department including career education, substance abuse prevention, and life skills. Recognizing the wide range of offender education levels and the many benefits of reading, ADCRR also provides fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, magazines and general reference materials at various reading levels. 

As mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lewis v. Casey, ADCRR provides offenders with access to the courts for qualified legal claims. Qualified legal claims are defined as those involving direct appeals of the conviction for which the offender is incarcerated, habeas corpus petitions, civil rights actions, or cases involving conditions of confinement. To facilitate legal access, basic legal reference materials, legal forms and contracted paralegals are provided. 

ADCRR accepts donations of appropriate materials. Donated materials are accepted with the understanding that they will be added to the Resource Center using the same criteria and processes as materials which are purchased. Security is the primary consideration when selecting materials for the Resource Centers. Materials must in no way undermine the basic objectives of the Department nor jeopardize the safety of the institution, offenders, staff or the public. ADCRR staff will review all donations and retains the right to refuse donations that do not adhere to the Department’s policies and procedures, or that are considered inappropriate for inclusion in the center. Materials which may be deemed inappropriate include:
         

  • Material that can be considered obscene as defined by A.R.S. 13-3501 et.seq. 

  • Materials that could be used as an aid to escape

  • Materials containing information which could be used to help an offender disguise or alter their appearance

  • Any written, graphic, audio, visual or pictorial information pertaining to the construction, formulation, utilization or application of weapons, explosives, poisons, alcohol, or other substances that could cause physical harm, aid an escape, or cause or contribute to institutional disturbances

  • Any materials that may otherwise be considered contraband

  • Materials with sharp edges or metal spiral binding

To donate general reading materials including fiction, non-fiction and reference books contact the Correctional Education Program Supervisor or Correctional Education Program Manager at the prison complex of your choice to obtain the Offer of Donation Form 301-1P.

Should you require additional information, call (602) 542-4177.

Note: To donate religious materials, call (602) 542-3090.

For Further Information Contact:
(602) 364-3234

FAQ

Q. Does having a GED make inmates ineligible for Special Education Services?

A. No, inmates who are eligible for services do not lose eligibility until the end of the school year after they reach the age of 22.

Q. Can my son or daughter sign up for education classes?

A. Inmates are prioritized for enrollment in adult literacy, GED, high school and CTE based on their individual needs.  After an inmate has earned their GED or high school diploma, they may apply for college admission.

Q. How does my son or daughter apply for college?

A. Inmates can apply for admission to Ashland University using their inmate tablets.  Inmates can apply for community college correspondence courses after obtaining the application from Education or their COIII.

Q. How can I obtain my GED records?

A. Contact the Arizona Department of Education to obtain GED transcripts.

Q. Can I still receive special education if I am in functional literacy?

A. Yes. Special education services can be provided as long as the student does not have a high school diploma.

Q. How will my teacher know if I need special education?

A. During the screening process, inmates are asked if they have ever received special education. If during the screening process, it is found that the student is having trouble in school, they may be referred to the child study team for possible special education evaluation.