“THIS SUMMER, for the first time in 22 years, 12,000 prison inmates can use federal funding to take college courses — a change that could ease their transition to civilian life and reduce the chances they will commit crimes again upon release. A two-page bill in the House and Senate would offer the same opportunity to hundreds of thousands more.
“In 1994, Congress banned Pell Grants for prisoners. The rule remains in place, but last year the Obama administration announced a pilot program in partnership with 67 colleges and universities to let some prisoners earn a degree while they serve their sentences. The program launched last month, but allowing all inmates to benefit is up to Congress: Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) introduced legislation to strike the prisoner prohibition last year, and recently Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) brought a matching proposal to the Senate. Both should pass.”