With 78 percent of the prison population lacking postsecondary education, there is increased momentum and focus on improving quality and access to educational opportunities within correctional institutions and during reentry.
Several national funders such as the Open Society Foundations, the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Sunshine Lady Foundation have been involved in these efforts, as has the U.S. Department of Education.
Numerous colleges and universities are currently partnering with correctional agencies and community-based service providers in creating a prison-to-higher education pipeline based on the straightforward premise that education is key to improving many of the long-term outcomes for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals, their families, and the communities in which they live. Indeed, offenders with higher education levels are less likely to be re-arrested or re-incarcerated.
Studies suggest that graduating from college programs can decrease recidivism by approximately 72 percent.
On Wednesday, April 10, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. ET, the U.S. Department of Education will host a webinar that focuses on emerging community college correctional and reentry education models.
One of the initiatives being highlighted is the Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Project, led by the Vera Institute of Justice, which seeks to demonstrate that access to postsecondary education, combined with supportive reentry services, can increase educational credentials, reduce recidivism, and increase employability and earnings.