In 1994, Bill Clinton signed into Law a provision of the omnibus crime bill that ended the ability for individuals who are incarcerated to access Pell grants. Since then the focus of prisons has become more punitive then rehabilitative and we are now in a situation where we have huge recidivism rates and Mass incarceration throughout the country.
In some states, individuals who are incarcerated have access to education, but for the vast majority who have no-one to lean on for support, the opportunity to try and better themselves while incarcerated is obsolete. One of the greatest determining factors of who gets to and who does not get to access postsecondary educational services while incarcerated is poverty.
We need your help! Increasing the educational levels of currently and formerly incarcerated is proven to reduce recidivism. Not only is it beneficial for the individuals who are able to access it, but it is also beneficial to the immediate environments, mostly urban inner city communities these individuals come home to and the generations who are coming after them.
“When people get out of prison, the overwhelming majority of people who have gotten education in prison, they’re so profoundly changed,” Pell said. “They go into their communities. They go into social work. . . . It’s in everybody’s best interest to have people come out [of prison] that are rehabilitated and feel good about themselves.”