Expanding College Opportunities for Currently and Formerly Incarcerated Californians

Read “Degrees of Freedom” – a 154-page report from the Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at Berkeley and the Stanford Criminal Justice Center Law on higher education opportunities for current and former prisoners in California. The report profiles existing programs and identifies recommendations for growth and sustainability, highlights challenges and successful strategies, and makes concrete recommendations for future programs.

More than 50,000 individuals will be released from California’s prisons in the next two years, and thousands more will be released from county jails. That is 50,000 individuals in need of reentry services and support over the next few years. Without intervention, many of them will return to custody. As the report says:

“College can stop the revolving door: a recent RAND study shows that participants in prison college programs have 51 percent lower odds of recidivating than those who do not participate and, after release, the odds of obtaining employment are higher for those who participate in education.”

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