Today, Mark E. Ojakian, President of the Connecticut Colleges and Universities (CSCU) announced that four community colleges were selected by the White House out of sixty seven nationwide to participate in a new Second Chance Pell pilot program. The pilot program allows eligible incarcerated Americans to receive Pell Grants to pursue postsecondary education with the goal of helping them get jobs, support their families and reduce recidivism when released. Beginning this fall 2016 semester, Asnuntuck, Middlesex, Quinebaug and Three Rivers Community College will offer classroom-based instruction, online education, or both at nearby corrections facilities.
“Part of CSCU’s core mission is to increase access to a higher education for all students who want it,” said President Ojakian. “The Second Chance Pell program is directly aligned to our mission and our history of inclusion. We are excited to have four CSCU schools selected by the White House and look forward to our continued partnership with the Department of Corrections and leveraging federal resources to educate one of Connecticut's most underserved populations.”
“We must be a society of permanent progress instead of permanent punishment, and we must be a society that invests in schools and education instead of jails,” said Governor Malloy. “To lower crime, grow jobs, and support communities that have been plagued by backwards criminal justice policies, we must prepare those who are currently incarcerated to be successful outside our prison walls. We are grateful to President Obama for making these grants available — it is, simply, not just smart policy, but the right thing to do.”
Schools chosen demonstrated strong partnerships with state correctional institutions as part of the criteria along with a focus on supporting successful reentry. The goal is to enroll approximately 12,000 incarcerated students across the country who are likely to be released within five years of enrolling in coursework.
- The Second Chance Pell program is a response to recommendations by President Obama’s My Brothers’ Keeper Task Force
- The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world with approximately 2.2 million people in American prisons and jails
- According to a study by the Department of Justice, incarcerated individuals who participated in correctional education were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years