(a) The Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shall implement in every state prison literacy programs that are designed to ensure that upon parole inmates are able to achieve the goals contained in this section. The department shall prepare an implementation plan for this program, and shall request the necessary funds to implement this program as follows:

(1) The department shall offer academic programming throughout an inmate’s incarceration that shall focus on increasing the reading ability of an inmate to at least a 9th grade level.

(2) For an inmate reading at a 9th grade level or higher, the department shall focus on helping the inmate obtain a general education development certificate, or its equivalent, or a high school diploma.

(3) The department shall offer college programs through voluntary education programs or their equivalent.

(4) While the department shall offer education to target populations, priority shall be given to those with a criminogenic need for education, those who have a need based on their educational achievement level, or other factors as determined by the department.

(b) In complying with the requirements of this section, the department shall give strong consideration to the use of libraries and librarians, computer-assisted training, and other innovations that have proven to be effective in reducing illiteracy among disadvantaged adults.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 798, Sec. 1. (SB 343) Effective January 1, 2016.)