Wes writes on page 54 that:

Later in life, I learned that the way many governors projected the numbers of beds they'd need for prison facilities was by examining the reading scores of third graders.

Why do you think governors link prison facilities with third grade reading scores? Do you agree or disagree with this practice? Why?

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It's widely believed that this is something of an urban myth. According to this myth, prison governors supposedly use third-grade reading scores in local schools to plan how many beds they will need to provide in their facilities. The idea is that those who fall into a life of crime...

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It's widely believed that this is something of an urban myth. According to this myth, prison governors supposedly use third-grade reading scores in local schools to plan how many beds they will need to provide in their facilities. The idea is that those who fall into a life of crime never progress in their reading abilities beyond third grade. So if the third-grade reading levels in local schools are low, then, according to the myth, it'll be necessary to start building prisons.

There's no real evidence, however, to suggest that the authorities use elementary reading levels to plan for future prison beds. The fact that many otherwise intelligent people, such as Wes Moore, believe in this urban legend is a sign of just how widespread it's become.

Though, like all myths, it does contain a grain of truth, in that there appears to be a connection between high school dropout rates and incarceration rates. For instance, researchers at Northeastern University found that as many as 1 in 10 male high school dropouts were in jail or juvenile detention compared with just 1 in 35 high school graduates.

If prison governors don't plan the provision of beds on the basis of third-grade reading scores, then perhaps they should base their projections on the basis of this empirical research.

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