U.S. Department of Education

Here's One Thing That Could Lower Re-incarceration Rates

The Obama administration has pushed to give prisoners access to Pell Grants, but not everyone likes the idea.

By Melissa Prax | September 15, 2016

The U.S. has a lot of people in prison. And one solution to keep prisoners from returning to a life behind bars could be an education.

"There's a lot of hopelessness in here," said Lawrence Miller, instructor at Limestone Correctional Facility. "With some education, it gives you a little hope as to a future."

One study showed former inmates were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years if they were educated there. But a lot of prisoners can't afford to take classes.

Article Continues Below

SEE MORE: Risk, Reward And Redemption At A Restaurant Staffed By Former Inmates

That's why there's a push to get inmates pell grants, and a pilot program backed by the Obama administration is underway.

But because pell grants often offer lower-income students financial aid, some movements are against prisoners also being eligible.

Prisoners haven't qualified since the '90s.

Although an educational program can be the difference between re-incarceration, which can save tax payers.

It's not just about getting our country's re-incarceration rates down. Millions with criminal records have a hard time getting a job — and because they often can't, it ends up hurting the economy.

In 2014, the U.S.' GDP took an estimated hit of $78 million to $87 million because former convicts and prisoners couldn't work.

Take nonworking men ages 25 to 54 for example. Thirty-four percent of them have a criminal record.

Because Congress hasn't passed expansive pell grant eligibility for prisoners, it can only be a temporary, test program. But, both the House and Senate have bills that could expand it.

Want to see more stories like this?
Like Newsy on Facebook for More Crime Coverage