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.
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.