Arthur Rizer, Justice and Civil Liberties policy director at the R Street Institute, a center-right think tank, said from a prosecutorial and law enforcement perspective, expanded access to a postsecondary education gives incarcerated people a “glimpse of a new world of opportunities.”
“This really is an ounce of hope for them while they’re incarcerated, and hope is everything,” Rizer said, noting that being in the classroom can make an individual in prison feel valued and not just a number under watch by a guard.
Moreover, a postsecondary education would support incarcerated people’s efforts to become better citizens, cultivate their communication skills and lessen incidences of violence towards other incarcerated people and officers, Rizer added.
“It’s a win-win across the board,” Rizer said, and even more so when it comes to tapping into public support for reinstating Pell Grants from both progressives and conservatives. “The iron is hot right now.”
“There’s nothing that promotes helping families more than helping fathers and mothers return to their families,” Rizer added around the conservative value of promoting family.
And when parents achieve higher levels of education, their children do as well, said diZerega, highlighting the inter-generational benefits of postsecondary education attainment.
“Across the spectrum – the right, the left, the up, the down – this is a positive way to reform our justice system,” said Rizer.