U.S. Senator Chris Murphy visited the York Correctional Facility, Connecticut’s all-female prison, to hear how Pell Grants have made a difference in inmates’ lives.
Murphy says giving prison inmates an education is a small price to pay to help reduce the cycle of recidivism.
“Half of the individuals who find themselves incarcerated, find themselves incarcerated again. The data we have is just overwhelming. It shows that if you get on a path to a degree, your chances of ever showing back up in a facility like this are reduced by about 40%.”
Kenneth Briggs is director of financial aid for Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, one of three educational institutions providing courses at York. Briggs says that educating inmates also “gives self-worth to individuals who have no worth yet. They’re coming out of incarceration and knowing many people who have been incarcerated a good part of their lives, and this is bringing them out to be independent and to be able to be a constructive person for society.”
Murphy has co-sponsored a bipartisan bill called REAL – Restoring Education And Learning – that will make those who are incarcerated eligible for Pell Grants.
A pilot program is underway in 67 prisons across the nation, four of which are in Connecticut.