With Pell Grants rising: a review of the contemporary empirical literature on prison post-secondary education
Mastrorilli, Mary Ellen
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Citation (published version)ME Mastrorilli. 2016. "With Pell Grants Rising: A Review of the Contemporary Empirical Literature on Prison Post-Secondary Education." Journal of Correctional Education, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp. 44 - 60.
Support for postsecondary correctional education expands and contracts with the dominant political ideology of the times, reflecting the degree of punitiveness in response to crime and criminals. Despite a growing literature demonstrating the efficacy of college education on reducing recidivism and increasing wages and employment, correctional agencies are slow to fully embrace college education for prisoners. In instances where programs are delivered, correctional education is used more as an inmate control mechanism, and less as a tool for successful reintegration post release. Recently, the US. Department of Education has undertaken a bold policy initiative to ease eligibility requirements for some inmates to pursue Pell Grants-a college financial aid program established to provide monetary support to low-income, undergraduate students. This shift in policy provides scholars and practitioners with an opportunity to revisit what is known about postsecondary education for prisoners. Toward that end, this article examines the recent literature on this topic and offers recommendations to advance the research and implementation of such programs.