Efforts to build robust postsecondary education programs in prison have accelerated in recent years, with support from a broad range of groups, from correctional officers to college administrators. This report from the Vera Institute of Justice and the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality describes how lifting the current ban on awarding Pell Grants to incarcerated people would benefit workers, employers, and states.
Specifically, the report analyzes the potential employment and earnings impact of postsecondary education programs in prison; identifies the millions of job openings annually that require the skills a person in prison could acquire through postsecondary education; and estimates the money states would save through lower recidivism rates these postsecondary education programs would yield.
The report found repealing the ban would:
- Increase employment rates among formerly incarcerated students by 10 percent on average, and increase earnings among all formerly incarcerated people by $45.3 million during the first year of release alone;
- Provide employers with a larger pool of skilled workers to hire; and
- Reduce recidivism rates among participating students, saving states a combined $365.8 million in decreased prison costs per year.