REAL Act Removes Barriers to Higher Education for Incarcerated Students
WASHINGTON, DC—Prison Fellowship, the nation's largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform, released the following statements on today's introduction of the REAL Act, which restores Pell Grant eligibility to students who are behind bars—increasing access to higher education.
"The REAL Act won't change the day on which someone is released from prison, but it can dramatically change the person who is coming home," said Heather Rice-Minus, Vice President of Government Affairs and Church Mobilization. "By unlocking second chances through access to education, we recognize the human dignity and potential of our brothers and sisters behind bars and will realize safer communities as a result."
"The bicameral introduction of the REAL Act represents a commitment to fight crime through more effective means," said Craig DeRoche, Senior Vice President of Advocacy & Public Policy. "We’re thrilled to see this bipartisan effort to ensure that people won't return to crime, but instead, can come home as good citizens trained to start a job and support their families."
The bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); and in the House by Representatives Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and French Hill (R-Ark). Restoring Pell grant eligibility for incarcerated students is among the issues contemplated for inclusion in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.