AUSTIN, Texas -- Education leaders in Texas' criminal justice system are pushing back on a recent report claiming incarcerated men have more opportunities for self-improvement than incarcerated women.
The report from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition says women in Texas prisons are not getting the same educational and job training opportunities.
Representatives from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, or TDCJ, testified at a House hearing Tuesday, saying Texas' criminal justice system has a significant number of opportunities for women, including vocational training and certification programs.
Many are administered through the Windham School District, which is charged with educating incarcerated Texans. Officials say the recent report largely ignored their role in educating prisoners.
"Windham is a part of TDCJ. We are a separate entity, but we are created out of TDCJ and we are their training program. And if you leave that out, then obviously you're missing the lion's share of what certifications are being given,” said Clint Carpenter, Superintendent of Windham School District.
Even still, some who have come in contact with the system argue that these programs continue to train for male-oriented fields, and that Texas will lose out if it doesn't work more toward helping women succeed.
"There are more opportunities for men at every juncture in the system," said Lauren Johnson, a former convict who now works for the ACLU of Texas
Johnson said Texas needs to provide more educational opportunities for women.
"All it takes is us investing in people on the front end so that we don't have to waste our money on the back end,” she said.