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Investing In Futures: Economic and Fiscal Benefits of PostSecondary Education in Prison

The research provided by this report finds that people in prison lack the necessary funding needed for postsecondary prison programs, which in turn creates barriers for reentry. The Pell Grant has long served as a beneficial resource for low-income families to gain access to postsecondary education; the federal ban has significantly decreased access to postsecondary programs in prison. The access to postsecondary education in prison would result in increased employment for formerly incarcerated people, thus allowing them to participate in the economy.

In fact, lifting the Pell Grant ban would “increase state employment rates of formerly incarcerated workers who participated in a postsecondary program by nearly 10 percent” (26). This would lead to a reduction in recidivism rates and prison costs, as well as improved public safety. By lifting the ban on Pell Grant awards to people in prison, those individuals, their families, local businesses, communities, and the state could all benefit.