Inmates to receive higher education through pilot program

Posted at 1:05 PM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-28 14:02:17-04

Once their time is served, inmates are typically re-entered into the community. To ensure they have a chance to be successful, three Michigan colleges will provide higher education through a federal pilot program.

The program is intended for prisoners who are interested in receiving a higher education have the opportunity to get the education and skills needed to rejoin the community and workforce when released. The colleges are Jackson College, Delta College and Mott Community College.

“Most incarcerated individuals in Michigan will eventually be released once they have completed their sentence, so it is important that they re-enter society with the tools they need to be successful, law-abiding citizens,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement. “Education can serve as a gateway to new careers that prevents them from returning to a life of crime and encourages more positive contributions to their community.”

Jackson College was awarded the most grants of any higher education institute nationwide, with financial aid available for 1,305 eligible prisoners. Mott Community College will have grants for 155 inmates and Delta College will be able to assist 15.

“A quality education is one of the most powerful tools for future success,” MDOC Director Heidi Washington said in a release. “Providing inmates with access to higher education improves their chances for leading productive and stable lives in the community and enhances public safety by reducing the likelihood they will re-offend.”

Classes are available to prisoners at 18 state correctional facilities, and Michigan’s only federal correctional facility in Milan. Those who qualify will receive federal aid for the educational expenses like tuition, fees and books. To be eligible, prisoners must  be within five years of their earliest release date when enrolling.