Investing in Futures: Economic and Fiscal Benefits of Postsecondary Education in Prison

Federal policymakers should right a past wrong by restoring eligibility for Pell Grants to all qualified incarcerated people, thus making the projections in this report—of improved lives, a stronger workforce, and state fiscal savings—a reality.

Efforts to build robust postsecondary education programs in prison have accelerated in recent years, with support from a broad range of groups from correctional officers to college administrators. This report describes how lifting the current ban on awarding Pell Grants to incarcerated people would benefit workers, employers, and states. Specifically, it analyzes the potential employment and earnings impact of postsecondary education programs in prison; identifies the millions of job openings annually that require the skills a person in prison could acquire through postsecondary education; and estimates the money states would save through lower recidivism rates these postsecondary education programs would yield.

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