Liberia: The Nexus Between Education And Crime – A Look Beyond Dr Daniel E. Cassell’s Alleged Offending


HIGH intelligence quotient (IQ) or even an earned PhD does not make one a ‘good person’. Put bluntly, education does not necessarily make one a ‘good person’. But research generally shows that having an education reduces one’s risk of committing a crime.

THERE is a causal link between educational attainment and crime. For example, the majority of prisoners across the US (the world’s biggest jailer) are functionally illiterates; follow by those who attempted/completed secondary education, post-secondary education, graduate school and then postgraduate. The same can be said elsewhere and even between juveniles and adult prisoners.

MOST importantly, the percentage of PhD holders in prison around the world is almost non-existent even in the US which currently houses about 25% of the world’s prison population despite making only 5% of the world’s population. Russia and China are the next biggest jailers.

THE very few PhD holders and PhD candidates in prison are usually held for political reasons (in Africa, Asia and the Middle East), espionage allegations (in Iran/the Middle East), fraud (in the West), war crimes (in the West) and murder (in the West).

WE also know that punishment is likely to be more costly for the more educated than the ordinary prisoner. For example, the sigma of conviction is higher for the educated because it devalues their standing in an already competitive labour market. 

FOR educated people like Dr Cassell who has also ventured into politics, this arrest and subsequent incarceration add another stigma which he will have to deal with for the rest of his life whether or not he is convicted. He has made history as Liberia’s only presidential aspirant to be incarcerated in the US?

THE purpose of this article has been to look beyond Dr Cassell’s alleged offending and examine the connection between educational attainment and/or the lack of it and crime. It is important to conclude that there is still support in the literature that having an education reduces one’s risks of offending. Therefore, Dr Cassell is a rare breed with an earned PhD to have allegedly committed a crime.