WASHINGTON (May 1, 2019) – Increasing access to higher education in prisons is key to successful criminal justice reform. In North Carolina, HB 463 was introduced to address the need for increased access to postsecondary correctional education by removing a tie to federal Pell Grant eligibility. A hearing for this bill could happen as soon as this week.

In a new policy short, R Street Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties Manager Jesse Kelley argues that postsecondary correctional education prepares incarcerated people to re-enter the workforce on more equal footing, thereby providing additional opportunities and a higher likelihood of securing and maintaining lasting employment, a major obstacle for individuals re-entering society. 

Kelley goes on to emphasize the fiscal prudence of correctional education. For every $1 spent on providing programming, $5 is saved in future incarceration costs, because the likelihood of recidivism decreases when those re-entering society have more education.

The author finds that the pursuit of higher education is “perhaps the most worthwhile use of time for those incarcerated. Educational programming within prisons and jails can change the way individuals serve their period of incarceration and help them to become employable, stable members of society upon release.”

Featured Publications