Every person has the right to an education. This should be true even for people who have made some mistakes in their life. The simple fact is that prisoners should be provided with access to higher education. Unfortunately, many prisoners are not given this opportunity while they are paying their time. As an effort to get prisoners the post-secondary education they are striving to earn, there have been programs and grants looking to help them out:
Second Chance Pell
Although unknown by many people, the Second Chance Pell is a program created under the Obama administration for prisoners seeking post-secondary education at a limited number of colleges to be provided with access to Pell Grants. Pell Grants are the primary form of federal financial aid for low-income students. With hopes of extending this program to other colleges around the nation.
Appealing to More Colleges
As more prisoners are succeeding in their post-secondary education, more colleges and universities are looking to get involved. The Second Chance Pell program began in 2016 with over 200 colleges applying to be apart of it. Out of that 200, 67 were selected and 64 still participate in the program. As of today, there are more higher education institutions are looking to get involved. By increasing access to Pell Grants, more colleges will be to afford to work with correctional facilities.
Providing prisoners with a higher education goes beyond earning a degree or license. When a prisoner is provided with higher education, it is shown they are far less likely to become a repeat offender. According to the Rand Corporation, when a prisoner is given higher education their possibility of returning to prison is reduced by 43 percent and their chances of finding employment is increased by 13 percent.
It’s also been clear that providing prisoners with higher education is very beneficial for the taxpayer. Because providing post-secondary education lowers the risk of the inmates return, every dollar spent on correctional education programs saved over $19 dollars for taxpayers.
The Second Chance Pell program has been a success at better the lives of inmates and has been beneficial to the taxpayers. It’s because of its success that it needs more attention and more colleges participating. Continuing and expanding this program will help improve the nation’s economy, as well as changing lives for the better.