ev,iew Of Administration Of Selected Aspects Of The Student-Tutor Education IProgram By The National Endowment For The Humanities B-158811 National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES . COMi=TWOU.ER GENERA&, QF THE UNiTED STATES WASHINGTORI. D.C. 20548 In acccordamce with ysur request, we examiaed into certain aspects of a gramt awarded by %he Na%iQnal EndQwment for the ,:,y",;:. Meunaaities to samdeis Umiversi%$y o Massachusetts, to : ,' -' /' operate the Student-Tutss Education _ P?QAgr (STEP). --‘-_-I We agreed %.bat we would obtain information on (I) the legislative au%hori%y for %he pfogran, (2) whether the EadQwment had consulted with the Federal Bureau Qf Prisons Qr Qther Federal agencies prior %Q i%s decision ts participate in the program, (3) the basis for selecting par%icipants in the prOgraIn, (4) %he m.mbex= of par%icipan%s in the prQgram, and (5) the paymen%s made %Q particfpan%s in the program be- fore and af%er their release from prison. We examined +ecQfds and in%esviewed officials Qf the Endswment; the Massachusetts Department Qf Correctfsns, Par- ole Office, amd Parsle Bsard; %he Law Enforcement Assistance Adminis%ss%i~n of the Departmen% of Jus%ice; and lh.iversi%y. We alss me% with the directax- Qf %he program and sQme of the tutsrs direc%$y involved im i%. The purpssse Q% STEP, as csnceive by its directsr, was to identify prisons imates with the Hn%effec%ual capaci%y for beaefi%ing fS5ti'Y$L%ege-leve% %raining. The prQgram was condticted a% selected Massachusetts priscans fQr inmates who, it was believed, would be helped by courses in the humanities %Q fimd jobs Q% to cQn%iIHJe %hefr educatiQ?l QphCQ~hge caI'Il- puses af%er %heir release frQ3R prissn0 The prsgram was established in June 1868 by the Florence Hel%er Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Social WeBfaPe 1 a% Bran&is Universi%y af%er approval was Qbtained RrQm prison . csfficia9bs and officers of %he Massachusetts Department Qf Csrrec%isws* D?.lring mi8-69) the firs% year Qf the PFQgXXliI, funds of $2%,800 were provided by a private fsmdation and Brandeis University, Ifs Federal funds were prevlded. F 50Tl-l ANNIVERSARY 192l-1971 Because of %hehea liberal arts emphasis of the program and ia oxder to demomit te %-hewalue of the bumani%ies in he conwiceed criminals reenter society successfulfy 0 Br s lhiwersiey in February 1969, submit% an application %O Bndowmt3wt for Federal finaneiial assist ce for STEP ac%iwi%ies. h accordace wi%h the National Foudo%ion on %he Arts and %he M i%ies Act, %he Naeional Counci% on the Humanities reviews appfieations and m&es recQ~e~da%io~~ on them %o %he Chairman of the Endowment, In May 1969, afler ehe coulcil had rsviewed Wd approved %he applica%ion, the Endowment advised Brandeis %ha%i% w0ul.d award a grant of $?rO,ZSO provided %ha%an equal, amount was made availlabke by private source8 8 Two priwa%e organizations--%he Char3bes E. M3rril31 Trus% and tie Marcus Founda%ion--previded %he matching funds. %a %he first year of STEP, prior %Qthe period of Bndow- men%fi ial asistance, the program was offered only a% %he max -security prison a% Walpole, Massa~&use%%s, Dur - ing the second year 1969-70, when Ermdowmentsupper% was prswided, %be program was offered also a% %he medius-security prison a% Norfolk, Massachuse%%s, and a% the Pr%dus%rial School for Boys a% Shirley, Massachuse%%s, The Endowmern%is no %ongsr providing financial supper% for %he program; howeverp it is s%i%l being carried ou% at %he three insti%u%ions, The grogr at Shirkey currewtly is beinag admi Brandeis Unive ty and is being funded wi%h S%a%e fimas * The Federal ds are made availablbe ts %he %hro the eQmmi%tee on E Enforcement and Administration of Crim P Justice QS%a%ep% ning agency) bps %he Law Enforee- men%Assistance Adminis%ra%ion of %he Depar%men%of Justice. It is an%icipa%ed %ha%, fcm the year from Sep%ember 1970 through Augus% 1971, about $128,000 of Law Enforcemen% funds will have been furnished for %he program a% Shirley. Thus 0 al%hoaagh STEP is no longer being finapPced by the Endowmen%, Federal ftukks are being made awailable by %he Depar%men%of Jus%ice %hrough Law Bnforceman% gran%s a The acting execrative direc%or of %he S%a%epllanning agency advised us %ha%%he,State Degar%ment of Corrections had received $28,000 from %he Seats planning agericy to enable the STEP program curren%ly being conducted a% WaPpoEe and Morfolk prisons %o be continued %hrough Aups% 3.971, 2 B-158811 The acting executive director told us that, of the funds the State planning agency had requested from the Law Enforce- ment Assistance Administration for its next year’s operations, $100,000 was for education services for inmates at correctional institutions at the State and county level. There has been no determination as to whether any of this amount will be made available for STEP training. The National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965, approved September 29, 1965 (20 U.S.C. 951), states as one of its purposes that it is necessary and appropriate for the Federal Government to assist and add to programs for the advancement of the humanities by local, State, regional, and private agencies and their organizations. The act provides that the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities) with the advice of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities and the National Council on the Humanities, is authorized to develop and encourage the pursuit of a national policy for the promotion of pro- gress and scholarship in the humanities. Under the act the Chairman is authorized specifically to --initiate and support research and programs to strengthen the teaching potential in the humanities by making arrangements (including contracts and grants) with individuals or groups to support such activities and --award fellowships and grants to institutions or individuals for training and workshops in the humanities. According to a report prepared by the Endowment in Novem- ber 1970, precedence for assistance from Federal agencies in prison education and rehabilitation programs is well established. Assistance for such programs has been provided by the Depart- ment of Justice; by the Department of Labor; by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, through both the Office of Education and the National Institute of Mental Health; and by the Office of Economic Opportunity. . B-15881P For example 9 Project Newgate in Oregon, which was sup- pOrt8d by the Office of Economic Opportunity, was an eXga8d- mental program providing college-level courses to inmates of corr8ctional institutions a It was begun at the Oregon State Prison, Salem, Oregon, in 1967’ and was expanded in 1969 to institutions in four other States. Also the Endowment previously supported a similar educational experiment in 1968-69 by the Pennsylvania State University which provided instruction in the humanities for inmates at the Pennsylvania State Correc- tional Pnstitution, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. We were advised by the acting Chairman of the Endow- ment that the declaration of purpose of the act and the authority granted under the act are broad and enable the Endowment to sponsor such programs as STEP., We agree that the Endowment has the necessary authority to sponsor such programs D According to Endowment files, the initial proposal sub- mitted by Brandeis in support of ats request for financial assistance for STEP was considered by a panel of experts in the educational field. Endowment officials advised us that they customarily used such panels to review applications sub- mitted for grant assistance. The sumary of the STEP proposal, as prepared by the panel for the consideration of the ~at~o~~~ Council on the Humanities, stated that: “The Student-Tutor Education Project is a model d to become a part of prison e It tests the viability of an educa- tional program for inmates of notable, if unrec- ognized intellectual capacity, hypothesizing that the development of the prisoner’s potential will affect positively his rehabilitation after release. STEP identifies these students and prepares them for further study at colleges or professional schools leading to appropriate occupational roles e OperatPng full-time, year- s round, STEP membership is voluntary, students are remunerated. The group of 12 to 15 students, led by two tutors, discuss assigned readings in a seminar setting. Indiwidual help is given on basic skills e Approach is interdisciplinary) 4 B-l.58811 with a single subject, drawn from the humanities, considered from various viewpoints over several weeks. Performance is measured by tests and impressionistic reports o Assistance is given in planning for post-release placement; close and continuous follow-up permits evaluation. To determine the optimum age-group for a program of this sort) three projects will be established; one of older, high-rate recidivists ; one of young-adult inmates ) and one of adolescent inmates e” The panel found the proposal to be reasonable but rec- ommended consultation with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The panel recommended support for 1 year and the Endowment staff concurred with the panel. Our review of the minutes of the meeting of the National I Council, at which the approval of the STEP grant was recom- mended, indicates that the Endowment requested comments of the Bureau of Prisons but that no comments were received. The following year, when the Endowment was considering a re- quest from Brandeis to extend financing of STEP, comments were requested again from the Bureau of Prisons. In July 1970 a Bureau education research specialist advised the Endow- ment that: “Brandeis’ proposal to offer an education program with a liberal arts focus for the adult offender is a very desirable exten- sionof the first year’s effort which was directed toward the younger inmate .” The research specialist recommended approval of the project. There was no indication that any other Federal agencies were consulted prior to approval of the grant for STEP. Program activities and inmate participation During the first year of operation and prior to financial support by the Endowment, courses were given in mathematics, English p and science but college credits could not be earned by participants. Twenty-four inmates participated in the program. , B-158811 During the second year when financial support was pro- vided by the Endowment, tutors were accredited by Northeastern University , Boston, Massachusetts, and college credits could be earned for various courses in English, introduction to literature, rhetoric and effective speech, earth sciences, history, and psychology. Noncredit courses were given in remedial mathematics, business and economics, and playreading. During this period, 23 inmates at the maximum-security prison at Walpole, 19 inmates at the medium-security prison at Norfolk, and 47 inmates at the Industrial School for Boys at Shirley participated in the program. Under the current program, being continued without Endow- ment assistance, college-credit courses are offered in litera- ture, philosophy, sociology, political science, business and management, and earth sciences. Noncredit courses are offered in remedial mathematics and playreading. IVe have been informed that 14 inmates at Walpole and 26 inmates at Norfolk are participating in the program. The STEP program at Shirley has been taken over by the State of Massachusetts and is being supported with Federal funds made available by the Law Enforcement Assistance Admin- istration. At the request of the State authorities, the STEP staff has assumed responsibility for the entire academic program at Shirley e All prisoners participating in STEP were volunteers. When the program began, an announcement was distributed to each inmate explaining the program and requesting those interested to schedule interviews with the program staff. We were informed by the program director that they selected the inmates to participate in the program and that, although there were no formal educational prerequisites for partici- pation, they tried to select the brighter and younger inmates who might benefit from the program and continue their edu- cation after release. The director pointed out that, on the basis of the inter- views, some inmates who were self-educated but had less than a formal high school education were allowed to participate in the program. We were informed also that, in making the selections, consideration was given to the inmates’ sentences and that participation in the program generally was limited to those who had a possibility of parole in 2 to 5 years. B-158811 Participants in the program received a payment of 25 cents a day from STEP funds during the time that they were in the program, The payment was in addition to the usual minimum payment of 25 cents a day made to all inmates by the State. The program director told us that prisoners who work receive an additional 25 cents a day and that the payment of STEP funds was to replace the additional money the STEP participants could have earned by doing other work rather than participating in the program. We were advised by the coordinator of sponsored research, Brandeis University, that, during the period of Endowment support, about $2,300 was paid to inmates participating in STEP but that these payments were made from funds made avail- able to STEP by the Charles E. Merrill Trust and the Marcus Foundation and not from Federal funds. The program director told us that no STEP funds, private or Federal, were used for any postrelease payments to STEP participants. As noted previously the Endowment supported the program for only 1 year. Brandeis had applied for extension of En- dowment funding p and in August 1970 the Endowment made a con- ditional offer to support the program through 1973 in the re- quested amount of $193,752. In September’1970, however, there was a bank robbery during which a police officer was killed, and the authorities charged five persons with complicity in the robbery, including three former STEP students, one who subsequently had attended Brandeis and two who were to attend Northeastern University. The robbery, in which the former participants in STEP were involved, caused the Endowment to ‘question its ability to sponsor successfully a program involv- ing the rehabilitation of persons with criminal backgrounds. The Endowment, on the basis of its review of the program, questioned its own competence to evaluate prison education programs and concluded: w*** Important as the inclusion of a humanistic dimension is in college programs for prisoners, the Endowment’s staff hasn’t the extensive capacity to make complex judgments in that field that it has in other fields where non- educational factors are less important. To develop such staff expertise could 7 . B-158811 be justified only if the Endowment were to make prison education a major undertaking, which it does not wish to do, and which in Amy case would put it in overlap with the several older, larger, and more experienced Federal. agencies already providing assistance in the field, *?The conclusions for the Endowment seem clearly inadicated: In the future, to the extent that the Endowment partici- pates iA programs Of prison education at all, it will do so only by seeking joint arrangements (perhaps to fund humanities segments of larger programs, for example) with Federal agencies such as O,E.O, that are working substantially in the field. As for STEP, it is not such a program; accordingly the Endow- ment has terminated participation in it.” Effect of the program on participawts The STEP staff did not conduct any formal follow-up on paroled inmates who had participated in the program. If a former participant so desires ) he is encouraged to keep in touch with the staff by telephone or by occasioaaal meetings. The program staff maintains information relating to the addresses, J‘ohs held, or attendance at schools for those former participants who desire to maintaire this contact. ‘hnforma- tion concerning all former participants is maintained by the State Parole Service. The program officials advised us iA June 19731 that the information they had concerning the 20 participants iA STEP who had been released on parole was as follows: --Three had been returned to prison. --One had violated parole and was in a drug treat- ment center o --Five were working at some form of gainful employment. 8 --Two had moved out of the State, and no further informati0A was avaiBable .a --Five were enrolled ipa education cw job-training --Two had AO~ furnished i~f~~matio~ as to their where- abouts e --One had been returned to jail and subsequently had been paroled, --One was deceased. The three participants who were again in prison were the three men charged with complicity in the bank robbery during which the police officer was shot to death. h Endowment report on STBP pointed out that the men charged with the crime were released by the Parole Board which had the sole authority in the matter. The report noted that the program officials provided the Parole Board with information on the participants in STBP eligible for parole. The report noted also that &his was only one source of information used by the Parole Board and that the Bndowment had AO evidence that the program officials had had any undue influence QA the parole decisions e This point of view generally was confirmed by the chairman of the Massachusetts Parole Board who told us that board members’ decisions on paroles were based primarily OA attitudes of the inmates. The chairman stated that the most important factor considered was what an inmate represented to himself and the community. He added that participation in STEP could have had a bearing on a board member’s decision, but that an inmate who had not improved his attitude, whether he had taken part in STEP or any other educational or rehabilitation program, would not be considered for parole. We plan to make no further distribution of this report unless copies are specifically requested, and then we shall make distribution only after your agreement has been obtained or public announcement has been made by you concerning the contents of the report. . . B-158811 We hope that this information will be of assistance to you. ComptroPfer General of the United States The Honorable Edith Green ; r House of Representatives 10
Review of Administration of Selected Aspects of the Student-Tutor Education Program by the National Endowment for the Humanities
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-09-22.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)