The 2020 Annual Survey of Higher Education in Prison (Annual Survey) was launched in March 2020, with data collection ending in May 2020. The survey consisted of 77 questions, gathering descriptive program information for the 2018-2019 academic year (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) and was completed by participants at 131 higher education in prison programs. Right before the launch of the survey, lockdowns due to COVID-19 were spreading across the United States. Three questions were added to the survey to assess the needs and experiences of these programs as they adapted to the rapidly changing landscape in the face of the pandemic.
The same COVID-19 questions were then included in the Understanding the Landscape of Higher Education in Prison Programs Survey (Landscape Survey) in order to measure how the field’s response to COVID-19 had shifted in the interim nine months. The Landscape Survey was launched in December 2020, with data collection ending in January 2021. The survey was distributed to all participants of the 2020 Annual Survey (131 programs) and closed for participants in February 2021. The response rate for the survey was 45.8% (60 programs).