The Mighty Logo

Why Dyslexia Screenings Are Vital for Inmates

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Dyslexia is a type of learning disability. Reading can be difficult for individuals with dyslexia. Reading is an essential part of life, from completing school work to job duties and running errands. For an individual with dyslexia that is incarcerated, the struggle is often even harder. Not only do they have a criminal record that may follow them, but difficulty with reading as well. Many inmates do not know they have dyslexia.

A 2000 study of prisoners in Texas showed that 48 percent of inmates were dyslexic and two-thirds struggled with reading comprehension. A 2014 study showed that 98 percent of inmates were unable to identify important information in reading. Learning disability screenings are not common in prisons.

Many individuals with dyslexia who were not diagnosed in childhood experience school failure. They often get into trouble and eventually drop out of high school. It can also cause a higher risk of becoming a teen parent or getting involved with illegal activities. Without a high school education or the ability to read, young adults have few positive or legal ways to earn money.

Most jobs require a basic level of reading even before you get the job. You need to be able to read the job posting and the job application. Reading is an essential skill outside of the workplace as well. You need to be able to understand how to read bills that come in the mail.  People who have court cases need to be able to understand what they are reading.

The good news about learning disabilities is that with proper support, people who have them can learn. Once an inmate’s needs are identified, a counselor, case manager or educator can work with them to teach them strategies to read better. These people can also get them in touch with other agencies to assist them once they are released from prison. Some of the help can involve money to go back to school and job assistance.

Learning disabilities cannot be cured, but people who live with them can thrive with the proper support. We must provide more opportunities for inmates with disabilities to help them succeed when they re-enter society.

Getty image by Fotokita.

Originally published: October 15, 2019
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home