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Ban on Pell Grants Lifted with Second Chance Pell Pilot

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and Department of Justice (DOJ) have just announced their joint decision to temporarily reinstate Pell Grant access to incarcerated students through the Second Chance Pell Pilot that will study the effect in-prison education has on incarcerated students post-release. This marks the first time in 20 years that Pell Grants will be available to incarcerated students.

CCA applauds this initiative as smart policy that is part of the bipartisan call for criminal justice reform. The research to date clearly shows that recidivism rates for people who have participated in higher education while incarcerated are dramatically lower than average recidivism rates: people who attend correctional education programs are 43 percent less likely to return to prison. This pilot program will provide additional evidence of the effectiveness of higher education in prison.

CCA has seen first-hand the effects of prison education. CCA staff member Marvin Ramos served a New York State prison sentence when Pell Grants and NYS Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) grants were available to incarcerated people. Mr. Ramos says of his opportunity to attend college: “It was the single most important factor in helping me rethink my place in the world and what I needed to do to become an asset to my community when I was released. It gave me new skills but, more, importantly, a new way of understanding my obligation to be a law-abiding citizen and a positive influence on my community once I was released.”

This is an important first step in restoring access to higher education for all incarcerated people. The REAL (Restoring Education and Learning) Act, federal legislation introduced in Congress in May, would further expand access beyond pilot sites. Learn how to take action to support the REAL Act.

You can also read about CCA’s research on higher education for incarcerated people and people with criminal histories, watch this video on accessing higher education in an era of mass incarceration, and check out resources available from the Education from the Inside Out (EIO) Coalition.

CCA is a nonprofit organization that promotes reintegrative justice and reducing society’s reliance on incarceration. Our programs are far less costly than prison and proven to increase public safety, as they help participants live safe, healthy lives and avoid re-arrest.

Marsha Weissman, Center for Community Alternatives

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The Right To Read : Documentary Screening and Discussion

Community Folk Art Center 805 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY, United States

Join The NAACP Syracuse Onondaga County Branch and Community Folk Art Center for a special screening and panel discussion of The Right To Read. This viewing will occur on Thursday, […]

Free and open to the community

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Community Folk Art Center 805 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY, United States

Join Classical Dance Trailblazer, Charles Haislah, The Creative Arts Academy, and CFAC-DanceLab for an evening of captivating performances and dance history. This event is free and open to the community!

Free and open to the community

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