Strengthening Families and CommunitiesRestoring Community and Family Bonds

Higher Education

The U.S. labor market is changing fast. By 2018, an estimated two-thirds of job postings will require some level of postsecondary education. For incarcerated men and women already disadvantaged in the job market, higher education truly is a key to success after release. 

Our pilot program in three states yielded lessons and evidence that the federal Department of Education and corrections agencies, as well as colleges and universities around the country, are now using to bring college into prison and continue to support people in their studies for two years after release. It’s an investment in personal transformation that pays off in increased employment and income—a boon for low-income families and communities—and no surprise, recidivism rates that studies suggest are as much as 72 percent lower.

Related Work

Investing in Futures

Economic and Fiscal Benefits of Postsecondary Education in Prison

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, which is the result of a collaborative effort with the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, describes how lifting the current ban on...

Publication
  • Patrick Oakford, Cara Brumfield, Casey Goldvale, Laura Tatum, Margaret diZerega, Fred Patrick
January 15, 2019
Publication

New Report Highlights California’s Success in Expanding Access to College for Incarcerated People

And Shows the Rest of the Country How It Can Be Done

Today, California has more in-person postsecondary education programs—offered in 34 out of the state’s 35 prisons—than any other state in the nation. CDCR is offering higher education to nearly 4,500 incarcerated students. Programs that meet students outside the prison walls have expanded in correlation to inside programs, as more people who starte...

Blog Post
  • Heather Erwin
    Heather Erwin
April 04, 2018
Blog Post

Making the Grade

Developing Quality Postsecondary Education Programs in Prison

With its July 2015 announcement of the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program, the U.S. Department of Education ushered in what could be a new era of expanded opportunities for postsecondary education in our nation’s prisons. The Second Chance Pell Pilot makes students incarcerated in state and federal prisons eligible for need-based financial aid in a l...

Publication
  • Ruth Delaney, Ram Subramanian, Fred Patrick
July 18, 2016
Publication

Series: Unlocking Potential

Producing active, informed, and engaged citizens through postsecondary education

What led you to your interests in education and mass incarceration? I started graduate school in September of 1971. In the third week of my coursework, the Attica rebellion occurred. This significant historical event was an uprising at a New York Correctional Facility derived from prisoners' demands for improvements in living conditions as well as...

Blog Post
  • Todd Clear
    Todd Clear
  • Rana  Campbell
    Rana Campbell
April 04, 2016
Blog Post