"New secondary education efforts and funding to support it might help incarcerated individuals with re-entry into communities," according to The Sheridan Press.
"Statistics show lower recidivism rates for prisoners who participate in secondary and postsecondary education and training programs while in prison.
More accessibility to education and trainings while in prison might prove beneficial for not only inmates post-incarceration, but also the community in public safety and economic stability.
Currently, the Wyoming Department of Corrections provides an adult basic education and general equivalency diploma preparation program, special education program for individuals with special needs, vocational education programs and English language classes for inmates whose primary language is not English.
WYDOC also partners with the University of Wyoming to provide college courses through Wyoming Pathways from Prison. Funding for those classes come from grants and donations.
Pell Grants for prisoners were banned in the 1994 crime bill passed under President Bill Clinton, according to Erica L. Green, a reporter for The New York Times. Pell Grants provide federal student aid for undergraduate students and do not have to be repaid.
Recently, though, bipartisan efforts supported lifting the federal ban on Pell Grants for people in prison through the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Before recent bipartisan efforts, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators presented a preliminary report deriving from a task force to reauthorize the Higher Education Act for better access to postsecondary education, to promote policies that address the needs of disadvantaged students and to eliminate statutory requirements that use financial aid to enforce unrelated social policies, among others.
In the recommendation, NASFAA asked to eliminate the tie between student eligibility and drug convictions, which would open funding to certain incarcerated individuals. The report noted that many schools have rules addressing drug use, and institutions generally have policies that help combat drug use or distribution. Because of this, the reauthorization task force expressed that financial aid should not be taken away as punishment.
'Once released and again possibly eligible for aid, these individuals have already satisfied punishment imposed for conviction;' the recommendation reads. 'Education may be their best route to rehabilitation.'
By having access to Pell Grants, inmates would have more of an opportunity financially to be able to seek postsecondary education, if offered, while incarcerated."
NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.
Publication Date: 4/16/2018