Vocational job training materials are among the most requested by incarcerated men and women. Inmates want to support themselves when released. Level custom creates free job training guides made specifically for inmates.
Level is creating the first free Creative Commons licensed GED test preparation guides. Inmates can use these to learn independently or with groups. Adults with a high school education earn 32% more than those without i and have 27% lower unemployment i.
Visual art, creative writing, meditation and personal development are hugely popular resources among incarcerated men and women. Level creates guides that help develop the whole person to strengthen the self and relations with others.
Level’s learning material is effective because it’s custom created specifically to support adult learners who have been failed by traditional education systems. To accomplish this, Level prioritizes an educational philosophy that acknowledges, accepts, supports and encourages adults in their journey to self improvement.
Level’s content is accessible because it can be distributed at scale to inmates without any internet access. Level's learning guides are printed on any standard printer, folded and sent via mail. They become the permanent property of each inmate who can use them anytime for individual or group learning.
The American prison system is a destructive cycle, tearing up people, families and communities while costing more than $80 billion a year i. One of the most effective tools for breaking this cycle - prisoner education - is overlooked, underutilized and outdated.
2.3 million Americans are currently behind bars i, and almost all of these prisoners will be released at some point. Prisoners aren’t set up for success after release. Former inmates experience a 470% higher unemployment rate i, significantly lower incomes and are 10 times more likely to experience homelessness i. The cycle of incarceration can seem inescapable - 68% of former prisoners are re-arrested within 3 years of release i.
Education and job training are shown to measurably increase the chances for success among former inmates after release. Inmates who participate in correctional education programs had 43% lower odds of being re-arrested i and had 13% better chances of finding employment post-release i. Prison education more than pays for itself with savings from avoided re-incarceration of $11 for each dollar spent i.
The answers to this important question run deep, and touch on America’s pernicious history with racism, classism and shifting public attitudes towards criminal justice. Budgets are stretched by the ever increasing cost of mass incarceration. And prison education is challenging - incarcerated individuals don’t have internet access, have lower than average starting educations and must be secluded in secure facilities.
The effectiveness of prisoner education has been proven. What's missing is a modern, scalable solution that can reach the millions of people who are currently incarcerated and focus on the unique educational needs of America’s prison population. Level is working on this solution. Join us!
Prisoners are some of the poorest and most disenfranchised members of our society, cut off from technology, education, income, and opportunity. Level believes that education is a human right and a mechanism to help all of us see past initial labels into the potential we all have inside.
Jethro is serving a six year sentence at Beto unit in Anderson County, Texas. It's been a very long time since he was in school. Jethro was inspired by his daughter's high school graduation to finish his own high school diploma. Jethro's dad used to call him a knucklehead, and his ex-wife (rightfully) describes him as a neglectful, inadequate husband and father.
Jethro believes that he is a mixed bag and probably - not definitely - can finish his GED. Level can help get Jethro over the hump with some old math, science and grammar he didn't remember anymore, or didn't recognize in the way the questions were asked.
Reginald is serving eight years at Clemens unit in Brazoria County, Texas. He's been told more than once that if he doesn't understand something, it's because he's lazy and not smart enough. It turns out he likely has an undiagnosed math learning disability - he needs at least a study partner to make progress. Partners don't come easy to Reginald, at least not the useful kind.
Reginald's goal is to finish the GED he started a few years ago during a pilot program that lost funding so that he can go to auto mechanic school when he gets out. He also needs to begin learning about how newer cars work so he can be familiar with working on them. Level can help Reginald with math and some vocational training, and can provide a structure that helps him work with a partner.
Sierra is awaiting transfer to the Crain Unit in Gatesville, Texas. Her partner is also incarcerated - soon they'll both be - and neither of their families have ever valued education very much. Sierra's often been told that she's too dumb to solve her own problems right. She believes that she's done nothing wrong, that everything that's happened to her couldn't be helped. Neither thoughts are very productive, or true.
Sierra's always felt a connection with expressing herself with drawing, but she never had much courage to do anything with it except when she was high. She's now got a lot of time ahead of her and is looking to spend time doing something that feels productive and interesting and maybe helps her change old patterns. Level can help Sierra access and explore meaningful sides of herself through creative visual arts and an ongoing mindfulness practice.
Level envisions a world in which adults of all economic backgrounds have access to free, high quality learning materials to help them achieve their goals. Level's approach can be scaled to reach an even wider audience than the impossibly large number of incarcerated Americans.
Reach 160,000 men and women incarcerated in State prisons in Texas, growing to target 1.4 million inmates nationwide.
Partner with municipal programs to reach teachers and adult learners in demand driven workforce development programs.
Expand marketing and content production to target a broad audience of adults seeking economic advancement and personal development.
Level has the opportunity to reach 200,000 people in the next 2 years expanding to 5 million in 5 years. To get there, we'll need to work with a lot of awesome people ... like you.