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Barriers in Justice and Education

Nearly 94 percent of adults incarcerated in the United States do not have a postsecondary degree.

Barriers in Justice and Education

Our justice system contains millions of potential students, including a disproportionate number of the very populations the Higher Education Act (HEA) was designed to reach. Higher education demonstrably benefits everyone within a correctional facility – correctional officers and those who are incarcerated alike – in addition to the families and communities to whom these potential students return. Beyond reducing recidivism, providing educational opportunities to students involved in the justice system has positive social impacts such as promoting civic engagement, closing equity gaps, and strengthening our nation’s workforce.

We promote postsecondary opportunities for those impacted by the justice system by identifying barriers to their college access and success, examining innovative approaches by correctional and postsecondary leaders to ensure academic quality and outcomes for the growing number of students who are participating in higher education programs while incarcerated, and working with policymakers and practitioners to advance opportunities for students who are currently- or formerly-incarcerated.