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Sun Aug 2, 2015, 07:19 AM

Pell grants to bring college back to prison: US is 'a nation of second chances'


On Friday, 24 inmates from Fishkill correctional facility graduated with degrees from Nyack College in New York.

Pell grants to bring college back to prison: US is 'a nation of second chances'
Dasha Lisitsina
Sunday 2 August 2015 07.30 EDT

A couple of months after Sam Hamilton was released from Fishkill correctional facility, a medium security prison in upstate New York where he spent 32 years on charges of felony and murder, he returned to the prison – this time as a civilian.

Hamilton was there to celebrate. His friends, 24 inmates at Fishkill were graduating with degrees in organizational management from Nyack College, which they completed while serving time. These men were among the few inmates in the country who have had access to higher education over the last few years, after Bill Clinton cut funding to 350 college programs in prisons around the country in 1994, as a part of his Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Hamilton was part-way through his degree at the time. “It was devastating,” he said.

But as part of Obama’s planned overhaul of the criminal justice system, on Friday the education secretary Arne Duncan reversed Clinton’s cuts, and announced a temporary Second Chance Pell program to reintroduce the federal grant to prisoners looking to enroll in college. The experiment will last three to five years and will be open to prisoners who are eligible for release.

“America is a nation of second chances,” said Duncan at a prison in Maryland on Friday. “Giving people who have made mistakes in their lives a chance to get back on track and become contributing members of society is fundamental to who we are. It can also be a cost-saver for taxpayers.”

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Reply Pell grants to bring college back to prison: US is 'a nation of second chances' (Original post)
unhappycamper Aug 2015 OP
pipoman Aug 2015 #1
Travis_0004 Aug 2015 #2

Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sun Aug 2, 2015, 08:22 AM

1. No....


He didn't spend 32 years on "charges", he spent 32 years on a conviction.

All this while people....kids...who have done nothing but their best to stay out of trouble and get decent grades, cant afford to attend college or are saddled with 30 years of debt...

No, I'm OK with job skill training and trades being taught in prisons, but not at the expense of noncriminals who actually are employable in the real world and deserve a chance so they don't end up in prison.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 2, 2015, 10:14 AM

2. I see your point


He decided to commit an armed robbery which killed an off duty police officer.

I have nothing against a tough sentence for dangerous people, but that taxpayer money he caused us to waste to lock him up could have send 10 people to college.

I also wonder how useful a college degree is to somebody who has been convicted of murder, hasn't held a job since the 80's and is in his 50's.

We should get them job training but I don't know how a college degree helps.

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