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Summary: This case argues that prisoners who enroll in college programs while behind bars have vastly better outcomes (lower crime, better behavior, and less cost to society), so we need to reinstate Pell Grants for prisoners.
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About "Second Chance: The Case for Pell Grants for Prisoners"
Pell Grants are federal money given (not loans) to poor students to help pay for college. Before 1994, many colleges had remote learning or correspondence programs they offered to prisoners that were funded by Pell Grants. Congress voted in 1994 to ban prisoners from further participation in Pell Grants, and most of the prison college programs were canceled shortly thereafter due to lack of funding. In 2016 Pres. Obama exploited a loophole by declaring an “experimental” pilot program to open up a small quantity of Pell Grants to prisoners, but the Congressional ban remains in place.
This case argues that prisoners who enroll in college programs while behind bars have vastly better outcomes (lower crime, better behavior, and less cost to society), so we need to reinstate Pell Grants for prisoners. It does so by expanding the budget for Pell Grants, so no law-abiding students have anything taken away from them. It makes sense to do all we reasonably can to prepare prisoners with skills, since 95% of them will someday be released back into society.
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Katherine Baker studied team-policy debate for five years before graduating, enjoying much success and qualifying for NITOC in various events. She loves working on debate and sharing her knowledge with others, most grateful for the life lessons speech and debate has taught her.