Ensuring high-quality college programming in prison has become a priority as Pell is being reinstated, Second Chance Pell sites are growing, and more states nationwide are removing barriers to funding for college programming in correctional facilities and financial aid for currently incarcerated students. However, the need to train correctional officials remains a cross-sector, professional development gap for expanding high quality postsecondary education programs in prison.
The Michelson 20MM Foundation awarded the RAND Corporation a Spark Grant to address this training gap, resulting in their recent publication, “What Corrections Officials Need to Know to Partner with Colleges to Implement College Programs in Prisons.” 0n September 16th, the Michelson 20MM and the RAND Corporation brought concepts from the guide to life by highlighting key takeaways and the experiences of corrections officials and higher education experts in launching college programs in prison.
This conversation addressed common questions and concerns corrections officials and higher education practitioners have about starting, maintaining, and strengthening a college program. The event delved into the basics of in-prison college programs, the transformative benefits to students in a correctional facility, funding and resources needed for programming and students, partnerships with institutions of higher education, and correctional staff buy-in for program success.