"Over the last 10 years, only nine inmates have earned a college degree while incarcerated in Connecticut’s prisons. That’s about to change," The Connecticut Mirror reports.
"Five hundred inmates at seven state prisons throughout Connecticut are now enrolled in college courses – for free.
In the early 1990s, nearly every prison in the state offered inmates degree-credit college courses. That largely ceased in 1994 after Congress voted to deny inmates the federal financial aid that supported most of these prison programs. A small group of students were still offered enrollment in a program run by Wesleyan University.
But the U.S. Department of Education last year decided to test the impact of reversing the prohibition against giving inmates access to federal Pell Grants so they could attend college. Many convicted felons still will not be eligible after they leave prison.
This pilot program seeks to test whether an education helps decrease an inmate’s likelihood of ending up incarcerated again. In Connecticut, 79 percent of those released were re-arrested within five years of their release, 69 percent were convicted of a new crime, and 50 percent were returned to prison for a new sentence, according to the most recent study of recidivism in the Connecticut Department of Correction. National studies show that those with higher education degrees are much less likely to wind up back in jail.
Education is the need cited most by inmates leaving jail — above employment and financial assistance, according to the National Institute of Justice. But less than 3 percent of inmates nationwide have a college degree, according to the Department of Justice’s most recent survey on the topic."
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Publication Date: 11/15/2017