Elementary and secondary schools hardly have financial education lessons. And thus, most of us roam into the world with little or no financial knowledge. Those of us who have a family members or friends to educate us on the benefits of long-term investment and budgeting happen to be lucky. However, for most of the people, the situation is different.
Looking at the people involved in the criminal justice system, the proportion of financial education offered is possibly even lesser. As an agency providing career and reentry programs, we repeatedly see how some current or ex-offenders require knowledge of essential life skills, which most of us acquired at a tender age.
Studies show that financial difficulties are a leading source of anxiety in American families. Considering that American citizens with college degrees and high-wage jobs suffer from stress due to personal finance challenges, how can we anticipate felons returning from the prisons to get through?
When inmates are in prison, their primary wants are taken care of – they have shelter under their heads, clothes to wear, food, and medical care. After their release, they seldom have nothing more than a few hundred dollars in their pockets. Nearly everyone would find that scenario stressful.
What is Financial Education?
Financial education is an area of study that equips the learner with an understanding of financial components such as personal finance management, investing, saving, borrowing, and taxation. Financial education aims to help the learners to achieve financial literacy.
Key Financial Education Aspects
- Benefit – financial education opens up many doors. For example, the learners get to know where they can seek financial assistance.
- Loan and debt management – financial education teaches people about borrowing and debt managing.
- Budgeting – this aspect covers cost reduction, ways of creating a budget, and its importance.
- Banking – how does one open and maintain a bank account? What are the requirements?
- Insurance – where can one get insurance help?
Our Role in Educating Felons on Financial Matters
We at Reecareer, through our training program, provide training and education to help felons assemble skills for their long-term prosperity. In situations where we can’t help, we link them with a resourceful organization. One of the programs that we put more focus on is financial education. Teaching felons correct money management, saving mannerisms, budgeting proficiency, and even investing could make a remarkable difference in making the offender change his/her philanthropic lifestyle.
The Value of Financial Literacy Education
By giving financial literacy education to felons, we can assist them in learning the ways to annex a better future for themselves and their households. Criminals need training on:
- Proper money budgeting techniques;
- The actual worth of their finances;
- Borrowing – factors to consider before acquiring loans, for example, the interest rates, repayment period, etc.;
- Paying taxes and filing tax returns;
- The use cost-effective investment tools;
- How to enroll and exit social welfare programs;
- How to search and find better and affordable housing;
- How to compensate more for purposes of victim restitution.
Financial education and literacy initiatives can also help tackle other needs that felons have, including problem-solving capabilities, urge control, job search and recruitment, peer pressure, and cost versus benefits analysis.
Like any other training and reentry program currently being provided, some felons will learn and apply the skills they acquired from the learning. On the other hand, others are going to reject the programs rigidly. Suppose we can reach only 10 percent of the total offenders currently imprisoned or under the stewardship of community-based correctional facilities; this could have a far-reaching effect on our communities.
Correctional facilities, private and governmental agencies should take a hint and educate prisoners on financial management. Financial education helps offenders control their finances and make informed financial decisions. Besides, it allows them set realistic goals and work towards achieving them. In the long run, financial education helps reduce recidivism.