Last week, the Department of Education announced a new pilot program that would allow incarcerated Americans to receive federal Pell Grants to pursue a college education while in prison.
The Second Chance Pell Pilot program aims to help incarcerated individuals find jobs, support their families and re-enter society once released from prison through giving them a college education.
“Independent studies demonstrate that educational opportunity is key to helping prisoners re-enter society with the knowledge and skills to become productive, self-sufficient citizens,” says James B. Milliken, chancellor of the City University of New York (CUNY), in a statement.
Indeed, studies have shown that education helps reduce reincarceration rates. (The RAND Corp. estimates that for every dollar invested in correctional education, four to five dollars are saved on three-year re-incarceration costs — which is an increasing problem due to the shockingly high recidivism rates.)
CUNY, meanwhile, already operates the privately funded Prison to College Pipeline through John Jay College’s Prisoner Reentry Institute. The program “brings accredited courses to inmates at New York State correctional facilities,” says Milliken. “CUNY will review the details of the Administration's new plan and give strong consideration to participating in the pilot program.”