Excerpt from The Progressive Magazine, published May 25, 2023

Written by Brian Walsh

When Carrie C. is released from Missouri Department of , she will be leaving with more than just the clothes she was wearing when she entered. She’ll be carrying a college degree.

Carrie was a 9th grade high school dropout who couldn’t even remember how to do division problems. Today she is on the Dean’s List with a 3.9 GPA. She is one of hundreds of students at the state prison for women to attend college classes, through a  between Ashland University and the Missouri DOC. And she is one of thousands of prisoners who have  a degree through the U.S. Department of Education’s Second Chance Pell Grant Experiment.

Even a few short years ago, the idea of providing access to college in prison was controversial. But now, after a multiyear bipartisan  led to the repeal of the ban of Pell grants to the incarcerated, the debate over whether colleges and universities should be allowed to offer programs in prison is settled. The main question now: how can these institutions offer education at the scale needed to meet the demand while maintaining the academic quality that transforms lives?

One study  a 43% reduction in recidivism rates for incarcerated individuals who participate in prison education programs. The more education they received, the more likely it was that they would not return.