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Thousands more prisoners to get taxpayer-funded college

Proponents argue that educating inmates is a good investment to prevent future crimes.

Published: June 29, 2023 5:57pm

About 30,000 additional prisoners are expected to be able to obtain some $130 million in federal Pell Grants per year starting in July. 

Thousands of people in the U.S. already get their college degrees while incarcerated, and many of them have their tuition paid for through Pell Grants, which offers tuition aid to needy undergraduate students. 

Pell grants will "provide meaningful opportunities for redemption and rehabilitation, reduce recidivism rates, and empower incarcerated people to build brighter futures for themselves, their families, and our communities," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told The Associated Press for an article Tuesday. 

David Zuckerman, interim director of the four-year prison college education program Transforming Outcomes Project at Sacramento State (TOPSS), says college is an investment.

While it costs about $106,000 per year to imprison an adult in California, it costs about $20,000 to educate a prisoner in the Sacramento State bachelor's degree program. 

Zuckerman says if the prisoner earns a degree, does not reoffend, gets a good salary and pays taxes, then it should not be difficult to convince people to expand the prison education system.

"I would say that return on investment is better than anything I’ve ever invested in," Zuckerman said. 

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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