Reconnecting Justice: Pathways to Effective Reentry through Education and Training




“Reconnecting Justice: Pathways to Effective Reentry though Education and Training, the second forum in our series on criminal justice, included a keynote address by Nicholas Turner, president of the Vera Institute of Justice, as well as expert discussions connecting policy trends in correctional education and training with reentry opportunities that promote economic success.

Incarcerated individuals are disproportionately people of color as well as adults with low educational attainment. More than 650,000 ex-offenders are released from prison each year and recent research shows that two-thirds of those prisoners will be rearrested within three years of release. However, research also shows that access to correctional education can significantly reduce recidivism. If we’re serious about breaking the cycle of incarceration, it’s essential to invest in robust education and training opportunities for incarcerated people and to connect them to continued education and employment opportunities once they rejoin society.

Providing these opportunities is cost-effective for states and has significant community and economic benefits. For individuals and families, coupling education and employment with reduced collateral and systemic barriers leads to economic self-sufficiency and improved life outcomes. CLASP’s forum examined promising policy options as well as lessons from state and federal initiatives.

Featured Speaker:

  • Nicholas TurnerPresident & Director, Vera Institute of Justice  

Panel Discussion: Building Opportunities: Education and Training during Incarceration

  • Sean AddieDirector, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Correctional Education;
  • Fred PatrickDirector of Sentencing and Corrections, Vera Institute of Justice;
  • Brant ChoateState Superintendent of Correctional Education, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; and
  • Bianca van HeydoornDirector of Educational Initiatives, Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
  • Moderator: Scott StosselEditor, The Atlantic Magazine

Panel Discussion: Bridging Opportunities: Connecting Systems for Successful Reentry  

  • Rev. Vivian NixonExecutive Director, College and Community Fellowship;
  • Will HeatonDirector of Policy and Public Affairs, Center for Employment Opportunities; 
  • Terri FazioDirector of the Bureau of Correction Education, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; and
  • DeAnna Hoskins, Senior Policy Advisor for Corrections and Reentry, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance.  
  • Moderator: Kisha BirdDirector of Youth Policy, CLASP

Additional Remarks

  • David J. Socolow, Director of the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success, CLASP;
  • Wayne TaliaferroPolicy Analyst at the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success, CLASP; and
  • Olivia Golden, Executive Director, CLASP.

This event was part of CLASP’s commitment to racial justice and anti-poverty policies and strategies, as well as our focus on the intersections of employment, education, and criminal justice. Last summer, CLASP’s forum “Realizing Youth Justice: Advancing Education, Employment, and Youth Empowerment” highlighted effective policies and practices that can help youth avoid the criminal justice system, access employment, achieve stability, build on their innate assets, and realize their full potential.


After the event, Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity interviewed Rev. Vivian Nixon, Wayne Taliaferro, and Nicholas Turner about criminal justice reform, racial equity, and challenges facing incarcerated Americans and their families. Their interviews are broken into segments and featured below. 

Rev. Vivian Nixon on Incarceration, Women and Families 

On Women and Families  

On Racial Equity 

On Incarceration Policy 

Wayne Taliaferro on Racial Inequities in Incarceration    

On CLASP’s Work on Criminal Justice Reform 

On Racial Equity 

On the Future of Criminal Justice Policy 

Nicholas Turner on Mass Incarceration and Poverty

On Mass Incarceration 

On Racial Equity 

On Black Male Incarceration 

On Implications for Low-Income Communities