All studies show that the best and most efficient way to reduce crime is to EDUCATE inmates.

Excerpts from the Article:

Delaware announced a new partnership aimed at providing college-level instruction to inmates Thursday.

The collaboration between the Department of Correction, the Department of Education and Delaware Technical Community College takes advantage of the Second Chance Pell Experiment, a federal initiative that lets incarcerated individuals with need-based federal Pell Grants enroll in postsecondary programs through local colleges and universities or distance-learning programs.

DelTech will offer grants and courses through a pilot program to incarcerated students in two state correctional facilities. The pilot will begin in the spring with a series of human services classes at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution and then expand to the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution, both in New Castle County.

The grants can help cover the costs of tuition, fees and course materials.

Established by the U.S. Department of Education in 2015, the Second Chance Pell Experiment waives federal regulations that prohibit inmates from receiving federal grants. It aims to expand educational opportunities, thus driving reentry success and reducing recidivism.

Claire DeMatteis
“The Department of Correction is committed to driving reentry opportunities through innovative educational, treatment and training programs as we embrace our dual mission of public safety and second chances,” Correction Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said in a statement. “In addition to expanding access to vocational and skills training for incarcerated individuals, a college education can be their pathway to earning a livable wage and set their foundation for success in life.”

The human services courses will allow inmates to gain skills and training for social services, an area to which many ex-offenders are drawn, Ms. DeMatteis said.

Classes offered by DelTech through the Second Chance Pell Grant pilot initially will be delivered primarily in a virtual format through live video sessions between instructors and students. Information sessions will be held over the coming weeks to make inmates aware of these new educational offerings and help them initiate the application process.

The Vera Institute of Justice is providing technical support to help balance security and program success.

“The value of an education is more evident now with dramatic changes in Delaware’s job market,” state Education Secretary Susan Bunting said in a statement. “More education equates to more job opportunities and better paying jobs. Those exiting prison encounter additional barriers due to a criminal history even after serving their time. This pilot project will provide many prisoners with their first opportunity to ever attend postsecondary education.

Susan Bunting
A RAND Corporation study found that inmates who participated in correctional education programs had 43 percent lower odds of returning to prison than those who did not receive services. Consequently, this project is good business for the state, the job market, communities and offenders,” she added.

Prison education programs in Delaware are offered by Department of Education teachers and staff who are embedded in state correctional facilities. Prison education has more than 2,900 enrollments annually in academic, life skills and vocational training services across Delaware’s four prison facilities.

While adapting to COVID-19 restrictions during the current school year, prison education has already distributed 1,700 correspondence packets and conducted over 125 videoconferencing sessions with more than 600 incarcerated students.

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