WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) lauded the announcement Friday by the U.S. Department of Education that will expand second chance opportunities available through Maryland institutions of higher education. Under the Department’s Second Chance Pell Program, eligible incarcerated Americans will receive Pell Grants to pursue postsecondary education with the goal of helping them get jobs and support their families upon release. A 2013 study from the RAND Corporation, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, found that incarcerated individuals who participated in correctional education were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years than prisoners who did not participate in any correctional education programs.
“A glimmer of hope can change lives. I witnessed the transformative power of education, and the hope that it can provide, at the Goucher Prison Education Partnership last year when then Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch first announced the Second Chance Pell pilot program,” said Senator Cardin. “If you want to see people from challenging backgrounds turning their lives around, look at the students being taught by the same professors at Goucher College’s main campus as at Maryland’s Jessup Correctional Institution and Maryland Correctional Institution for Women. A college education provides individuals with the skills they need after release to truly re-establish their lives and rejoin their communities after a criminal conviction.”
Four Maryland institutions of higher education were chosen to participate in the Second Chance Pell Program: Anne Arundel Community College, Wor-Wic Community College, the University of Baltimore, and Goucher College. These institutions will provide certificate and Bachelor’s degree programs to approximately 209 students during the upcoming 2016 – 2017 academic year.
“I’m pleased that these high-quality institutions have made a commitment to providing additional Marylanders with a second chance. These men and women deserve to be afforded every opportunity to contribute in a positive way for themselves, their families, neighborhoods, and larger community upon their release,” Senator Cardin added.