If Prison Is About Rehabilitation, Why Prevent Education?

March 6, 2019

A Pell Grant program was created in 1972 as a resource for students who couldn’t afford college. This included prisoners.

In 1994, Bill Clinton’s Crime Bill made EVERYTHING worse.

Originally written by Joe Biden, the Crime Bill was disastrous for Black communities. In addition to increasing police terror and prison populations, it BANNED Pell Grants for prisoners - even though access to education DECREASES crime! They just didn’t care.

The Intercept reports that “some 60 percent of individuals in prison will not get any in-prison educational opportunities beyond a GED” even though “in 2014, seventy percent of people in prison expressed a desire to pursue postsecondary education.”

According to the Vera Institute, almost half a million people in prison could benefit from Pell Grants.

At the state level and local level, there are opportunities for prisoners to obtain higher education while locked up. Still, the Pell Grant could make education more accessible. 

According to a 2013 study from RAND, prisoners who participated in postsecondary education programs are almost 50% less likely to re-offend!

Black communities already suffer from underfunded and neglected schools. We’re disproportionately arrested and imprisoned by a racist criminal justice system. And now when we’re incarcerated, we can’t even access education easily in prison… unless, perhaps, the Pell Grant ban is lifted.

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