Study to focus on higher ed to reduce crime

Written by Radio Pennsylvania | Jul 3, 2016 8:34 AM

(Harrisburg) -- Four Pennsylvania colleges have been awarded federal grant money to explore whether access to higher education can reduce an inmate's likelihood of future crime. 

The Second Chance Pell pilot program will allow 115 inmates in six Pennsylvania prisons to take courses through the participating colleges, and work toward a degree or certificate.

Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel says the program could remove one of the many barriers former inmates face when trying to succeed after release.

"When you look at 20,000 people coming out of state prisons every year, some of those folks are going to be coming back to your neighborhood.  When they can come back and be ready to get gainful employment and be good citizens, we all benefit from that," Wetzel said. 

The research so far shows education can reduce recidivism.

Participants in this program will also be tracked and Secretary Wetzel says good results could mean an expansion of the program. 

The colleges involved are Bloomsburg University, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University.


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