CONGRESSWOMAN SHEILA JACKSON LEE APPLAUDS ATTORNEY GENERAL LORETTA LYNCH AND SECRETARY OF EDUCATION ARNE DUNCAN FOR INTRODUCING SECOND CHANCE PELL PILOT PROGRAM
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations released the following statement today applauding Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for launching the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program:
“I applaud Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for coming together and launching this important program to provide Pell Grants to incarcerated students. While most individuals wish to better themselves during their time in prison, opportunities to do so are severely lacking. Approximately 630,000 individuals are expected to be released from federal and state prison each year. It is time we acknowledge better ways to help facilitate their successful transition back into society by reducing and eliminating risk factors that typically lead to individuals returning to crime.
“According to the Department of Education, providing higher educational opportunities to incarcerated persons is the single most successful method to reducing levels of incarceration and overall rates of recidivism. Individuals who participated in postsecondary education while in prison are found to be 40-50 percent less likely to recidivate that members of the general prison population – with some studies finding reductions by as much as 60 percent. Those enrolled in college educational programs are also significantly less likely to misbehave or receive infractions while in prison, thus resulting in a safer prison environment.
“The Second Chance Pell Pilot program will increase public safety, strengthen communities, and save tax payers money. A study funded by the Department of Justice found that for every one dollar invested in correctional education programs, tax payers save four to five dollars on re-incarceration costs. This pilot program reflects and supports the evidenced-based conclusion that the cost for correctional education programs far outweigh the cost of crime and incarceration. Criminal justice reform is not complete without effective rehabilitative programs such as this critical component and commitment to improving our system of justice and public safety.
I encourage all postsecondary institutions to participate in this essential cost-saving and crime preventative program. The deadline to apply is September 30, 2015 for the 2016-2017 academic year.”
Congresswoman Jackson Lee is a Democrat from Texas’s 18th Congressional District. She is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security and is Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.