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New England Board of Higher Ed looks to expand academic programs in prisons across Massachusetts

An instructor handing a student a college diploma.
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An instructor handing a student a college diploma.

The New England Board of Higher Education is looking to expand academic programs in prisons across the Commonwealth. The Board received more than $6 million dollars from a private foundation to address barriers impeding incarcerated individuals from receiving higher education.

President Michael Thomas said part of the grant will go towards reaching out to colleges and universities across Massachusetts and assessing what resources they'll need to receive these students once they re-enter society.

"The goal there is to create an agreement where as large a number as possible of post-secondary institutions will be willing to fully accept the credits that students earn while incarcerated," Thomas said.

Thomas said they're engaging with public and private institutions and hope many in western Mass will participate. He said the board has support from Gov. Maura Healey's administration, state legislators, and corrections facilities to continue this work.

Nirvani Williams covers socioeconomic disparities for New England Public Media, joining the news team in June 2021 through Report for America.