Inmate Education


The Arizona Department of Corrections 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 offers a staff of more than one hundred professional educators who address the educational needs of the offender population incarcerated in ten ADC prison complexes and three private prisons contracting with ADC 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.


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 ADC'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 ADC and in the community when released.

WORK-BASED EDUCATION

The Work-Based Education (WBE) programs are designed to assist offenders in gaining marketable employment skills.  ADC provides Work-Based Education instruction to offenders who possess a high school diploma or GED, 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), ADC 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 (ADC) 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, ADC 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, ADC 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. 

ADC 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.  ADC 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, contact Dr. Barbara Ganz, Education Administrator at (602) 542-5620.  

PLEASE NOTE: To donate religious materials, contact Kenneth Herman, Religious and Volunteer Services Administrator at (602) 542-3090.
 

For Further Information Contact:
(602) 364-3234