Education opportunities available to federal prisoners include literacy training, continuing education, post-secondary education, VT Horticulture, and apprenticeship programs. An inmate confined in a federal institution who does not have a verified General Educational Development (GED) or high school diploma is required to attend an adult literacy program for a minimum of 240 instructional hours or until a GED is achieved, whichever occurs first. The inmate will be placed in the appropriate literacy program based upon the results of a required standardized achievement test. All promotions in institutional work assignments beyond the entry level grade are contingent upon successful completion of a literacy program.
Inmates subject to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (VCCLEA) or the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA) shall make satisfactory progress (GED SAT) toward earning a GED in order to vest/earn Good Conduct Time(GCT). If the inmate refuses to enroll in a literacy program, receives an Incident Report in a literacy program, or withdraws from a literacy program, he is subject to unsatisfactory progress (GED UNSAT) and loss of GCT.
In addition, all federal prisoners will be evaluated to determine English proficiency. Each inmate who is determined to have limited English proficiency is required to take the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System test (CASAS). Based upon the results of the placement tests, the inmate will be placed in the appropriate English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) program until he is able to function at the equivalence of the eighth grade in competency skills, as measured by a minimum score of 225 on the CASAS reading certification test and a score of 215 of the CASAS listening certification test.
An incentive award system has been established which recognizes achievement at intervals within the literacy program with special recognition upon achievement of functional literacy, i.e. an 8.0 grade level in reading and math as measured by the Adult Basic Learning Examination (A.B.L.E.), as well as completion of achievement levels of the CASAS test. Incentives can be one or more of the following:
A. $5.00 award for Student of the Month
B. Consumable items such as popcorn and sodas, for satisfactory progress toward literacy goals or for periodic classroom achievements, i.e., hardest worker, best test score, perfect attendance.
C. $25.00 award for successful completion of the GED or ESL program.