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Why Aren’t There More Higher Ed Programs Behind Bars?

September 07, 2015
While research shows that people who have access to educational opportunities while incarcerated are far less likely to return to prison, higher education programs that offer in-person courses behind bars are few and far between in the United States.

While research shows that people who have access to educational opportunities while incarcerated are far less likely to return to prison, higher education programs that offer in-person courses behind bars are few and far between in the United States.

NPR’s All Things Considered explores why:

Prison education in much the rest of the country remains a patchwork of distance learning, ad hoc tutoring or GED programs. And quality higher ed prison programs like San Quentin’s remain rare. There is Temple University’s Inside-Out program, Bard College’s Prison Initiative and a few others. But programs like these have proved hard to replicate, experts say, because of a lack of money and political will since congressional action effectively shut down prison higher education in America.

“The Pell Grant ban 1994 really just decimated college programs in prisons,” says Marc Mauer, who directs the advocacy group The Sentencing Project. “Today, you can count on two hands the number of colleges or universities that are providing any kind of significant programming in prisons around the country. Nothing has scaled yet. It usually comes down to resources.”

Listen to the full story below or read about it on NPR.

 
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