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Inmates get a ‘second chance’ at federal grants for higher ed under experimental program (Goucher College)

PBS

September 14, 2016

 

In a pilot project announced this summer, the Department of Education will partner with dozens of colleges (including Goucher College) to provide higher education to prisoners who can't afford to pay; eligible inmates will be able to apply for federal grants under the experimental trial. Hari Sreenivasan explores what both advocates and critics are saying.

GWEN IFILL: Next, we continue with our Rethinking College series.

Hari returns now with a report on whether taxpayers should cover college tuition for convicted criminals.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Jermaine Isaac (ph) killed a man when he was 15. He’s been in prison for second-degree murder 11 years. During his punishment, he is trying to make something better of himself. For the past two years, he has been attending college behind bars.

JERMAINE ISAAC, Student, Goucher Prison Education Partnership: Going to college gave me tools. It’s taught me patience. It’s taught me hard work. It taught me that more things are possible.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Isaac is one of 100 Maryland prisoners studying for a degree as part of a partnership with Goucher College, a private liberal arts school in Baltimore.

Goucher provides the professors and pays for the education with private donations.

Amy Roza directs the Goucher Prison Partnership.

AMY ROZA, Director, Goucher Prison Education Partnership: We have a chance to change the way we do criminal justice in the United States, if we invest in the root causes of what brings people to prison.

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