Photos by Lee Wexler
Higher Education Matters
Increasing access to higher education for aspiring students who have been involved with the criminal justice system, including those currently and formerly incarcerated, reduces recidivism and the related costs of crime and imprisonment. It also increases opportunities for employment and long-term stability after release. Moreover, as evidenced by the unprecedented results acheived by College and Community Fellowship (CCF) students who receive our integrated support services, it is undeniable that education transforms lives, reduces poverty, and strengthens communities. While 66% of incarcerated non-degree earners nationwide are likely to return to prison within three years of release, the likelihood drops to 5.6% for Bachelor’s degree recipients and less than 1% for Master’s degree recipients. When criminal justice-involved persons gain employment, which in the current labor market is often contingent upon education, they are far less likely to rely on public assistance. Governments, in turn, can divert funds that would have been used to build and maintain correctional facilities to other areas, such as public education or social services.