We must create educational opportunities to reduce recidivism
prison inmates and empower them to lead successful lives post incarceration.
In 1999, I was convicted of committing a series of commercial burglaries. From the moment I stepped into prison, I knew that I needed to change my trajectory. Raised in a family where attending college was an expectation, I set my sights on earning a bachelor’s degree from behind bars. Having no funds of my own, I turned to the federal Pell Grantprogram, which helps low-income students attend accredited colleges and universities.To my great disappointment, I learned that incarcerated people were no longer eligible for the program, due to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Over the next few years, I wrote hundreds of letters to churches, charities, local businesses, and other organizations asking for tuition assistance without success. I was eventually able to enroll in the distance learning degree program at Pennsylvania State University, only because my father stepped in to pay for it. With his generous support, I earned degrees in business administration and organizational leadership, graduating with highest distinction.
During my academic journey, I discovered that many of my fellow prisoners… (Continue Reading)
The Prison Scholar Fund envisions a country that provides access to higher education for all its citizens, even those imprisoned.
The PSF opens access to postsecondary education opportunities for incarcerated students with support and mentoring, and helps them reintegrate back into society with transition support that includes job readiness and placement. We also advocate for reform in correctional education to increase access to all.