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Online Learning Becomes Court-Ordered Community Service 160

An anonymous reader writes "Yahoo Finance reports that convicted criminal offenders can serve their court-ordered community service hours online by taking educational courses through Community Service Help. According to the article, there is a high correlation between criminal activity and lack of education. Who knew? 'About 40 percent of all U.S. prison inmates never finished high school, and nearly 44 percent of jail inmates did not complete high school. More current data shows that hasn't changed. In Washington, D.C., for instance, 44 percent of Department of Corrections inmates are not high school graduates. Less than 2 percent had 16 years or more of schooling.'"
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Online Learning Becomes Court-Ordered Community Service

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  • Uhh... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 11, 2012 @09:59AM (#39317595)

    Does that mean educated people are less criminal or just better in hiding their crimes ?

    And in the latter case, doe we really want to educate criminals ?

  • by awilden ( 110846 ) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @10:03AM (#39317615)
    Of course there are many reasons that people don't finish school. Sometimes it's because they're not smart enough. Other times it's because they're bored out of their skulls, or family issues are pulling them away, or a million other reasons. Maybe this should be interpreted as yet another reason that we need to revamp schools so that they do more than just deliver a "one-size-fits-all" education to the middle of the bell curve. Education is expensive, but prison is far more expensive.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @10:29AM (#39317711) Journal
    Customising isn't that hard, if done at the correct granularity. My school split the year group into about smaller classes for each subject. Most of these were streamed based on ability so if you were, for example, gifted at mathematics but not at French then you'd be in a class learning mathematics faster but a slower French class. This used to be common in the UK, before the governments of the '70s and '80s decided that judging people based on their ability was elitist and therefore bad.
  • Re:Once again (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 11, 2012 @10:41AM (#39317767)

    Maybe the real reason is that educated criminals just commit legal crimes. I've recently read a study which said that being better off is associated with lack of empathy, lack of a sense of right and wrong, and lack of self reflection.
    So I have my doubts about the project. What if (in contrast to g'parent post) they do become bankers? Is that really better? They can do much more harm there than as ordinary criminals, and because it's legal we can't lock 'm up any more.

  • by bipbop ( 1144919 ) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @10:58AM (#39317849)
    But the costs are externalized. A lot of people are making money off the new slave labor. []
  • Re:Once again (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @11:26AM (#39317983) Homepage

    But very few can work in unskilled labor, those jobs are practically going away not to mention when the going gets tough you're in competition with all the skilled labor too. I remember there was an article here in Norway about a position as warehouse assistant, they got 3-400 applicants and the job market here isn't even tough. If it had been I'm guessing 1000+ applicants because it's the kind of job absolutely everyone can do. But there's a very limited number of McJobs and even most of those want people that have worked retail before plus domain experience like working with food. You don't need qualifications to stand on the street corner and sell drugs or break windows and steal shit. Of course some would continue to be criminals, but I think a lot of them did because they failed at everything else.

    Of course this is just highly anecdotal, but at least on my school I'd say there was a group of losers that compensated by being badass. Drinking, smoking, talking tough and following through if necessary, breaking the rules - if they couldn't be successful at school they'd make their own kind of success. They were attractive to the kind of girls that like "bad boys" too, that was important in that age. Particularly since those that were neither badass nor did well weren't treated very nice. But once that becomes the defining order, it escalates. You're not drinking beers to be badass, you're drinking liquor. Or you're doing drugs. You're not breaking school rules, you're shoplifting. And as everyone else's opinion of you deteriorates - other school mates, parents etc. your standing in the gang only becomes more important.

    I'm not talking about street gangs in New York here, I'm talking about a fairly quiet suburb in low crime Norway. I'm thinking this is a pattern that exists more or less all over the world, of course it doesn't explain all crime but I think it explains a lot of petty crime, the kind people say came from "hanging with a bad crowd". And yes, I'd say failing at school is a leading cause as to why people start doing that. I'm not so sure it'll help though, most of these people were failing for a reason and they're not going to be the brightest even if they get remedial education. But maybe it can give them some sense of achievement on the other scale, they might not win any Nobel prizes but they're making a honest living. It's at least a chance to getting out of a bad circle if they're willing to take it.

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors