Education programs in prison would reduce recidivism & cost (FL)
Prisoners are unpopular. We are all aware of this fact- politicians most of all. Therefore it was probably a smart campaigning decision for Florida Gov. Rick Scott to take a hard-line stance on prisons. In fact, he has recently even instituted a policy that forces prisoners to wait five-to-seven years for their civil rights — such as the rights to vote, serve on a jury, and seek public office — to be restored.
However, many of those pesky “human rights” or “democracy” sympathizers seem to believe that he has “overstepped his bounds” a bit. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that this is probably a valid point considering that that we supposedly live in a democratic society that values human rights. However, what seems to be lacking in the conversation is the lack of basic rights prisoners receive while still in prison, such as the right to a college education.
A large source of opposition to college-in-prison programs, and the reason public funding for it was cut in 1994, was that people took issue with the fact that inmates were receiving free college educations while hard-working, innocent citizens who couldn’t afford college did not receive the same benefits. However, although the logic might be sound, the facts show that eligible applicants for Pell grants did not miss out because inmate educatrions were funded. Pell grants awarded on merit, and costs above the annual appropriations were covered in the following year’s budget.