Reconnecting Justice in the States: Education and Training Pathways from Incarceration to Reentry
By Wayne Taliaferro
A new brief from CLASP examines how California is aligning education and training opportunities for people who are currently or formerly incarcerated. This is the first brief in our series “Reconnecting Justice in the States,” which will explore coordinated justice, education, and workforce policy and practice at the state level. It is part of CLASP’s continued commitment to leverage criminal justice reform to expand economic opportunity and help achieve racial equity.
The majority (2 million) of incarcerated people are serving their sentences in state prisons and local jails, making states and local jurisdictions ground zero for criminal justice reform. Additionally, 650,000 people are released from prisons and jails each year. These individuals experience systemic, legally embedded discrimination that prevents economic mobility and increases the chances of recidivism. Currently, three-quarters of people leaving prison reoffend within five years. However, correctional education reduces people’s likelihood to reoffend by 43 percent as well as increases their likelihood to find a job by 13 percent. Combined with comprehensive policies that support reentry, education and training can serve as a strong pathway to economic security.
Leveraging the power of federal, state, and local policies is essential to realize systemic reform. June marked the one-year anniversary of the Second Chance Pell Pilot program as well as the introduction of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2017 in the U.S. House of Representatives. These federal levers have tremendous potential, but they are far more effective when coupled with state reforms. States should use the opportunity provided by federal funding streams to innovate and build sustainable reform strategies.