Hundreds of prison inmates across Connecticut will now have access to federal grant money to help pay for college.
Four community colleges in the state -- Three Rivers, Quinebaug Valley, Middlesex, and Asnuntuck -- are participating in the Second Chance Pell pilot program, which is providing money for eligible inmates to attend college.
U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said the program should reduce recidivism and save taxpayer dollars.
"The knowledge and skills they acquire will promote successful reintegration and enable them become active and engaged citizens," King stated in a press release.
Studies have shown that incarcerated people who are educated in prison are much less likely to get locked up again after being released.
To be eligible, inmates have to show financial need and should be scheduled for release within five years of enrolling. Two schools will be offering associates degrees and the other two will offer certificates.
Classes will happen at the prisons, or online, or through a combination of the two.
Eight of the state's 17 prisons are participating. To be eligible for the program, each prison was asked to show how it would help the inmates enter the job market after leaving prison and gaining a degree or certificate.
Here are the Connecticut schools and prisons that are participating:
- Three Rivers Community College; offering certificates to 150 eligible inmates of York and Corrigan/Radgowski correctional institutions.
- Quinebaug Valley Community College; offering certificates and associates degrees to 60 eligible inmates of Brooklyn Correctional Institution.
- Middlesex Community College; offering associates degrees to 51 eligible inmates of Cheshire and York correctional institutions.
- Asnuntuck Community College; offering certificates to 540 eligible inmates of Osborn, Robinson and Willard-Cybulski correctional institutions.