3 Oklahoma schools chosen for program to educate inmates

July 11, 2016 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Three schools in Oklahoma have been chosen to participate in a federal program that will allow eligible inmates to take college courses.

The new Second Chance Pell pilot program, inmates will be allowed to receive Pell Grants and pursue postsecondary education, The Oklahoman (http://bit.ly/29teqBM ) reports. The goal is to help inmates get jobs when they are released.

Inmates previously had not been eligible for Pell Grants.

The U.S. Department of Education announced Tulsa Community College, Connors State College and Langston University as three of the 67 institutions chosen for the pilot program.

Tulsa Community College and Connors State College have offered courses to inmates for several years, and will be able to expand their programs.

Connors expects to enroll about 225 students this fall at Jess Dunn Correctional Center near Muskogee and Eddie Warrior Correctional Center for women in Taft.

Inmates who are likely to be released within five years of enrolling in coursework are targeted by the program.

According to Oklahoma corrections officials, 22 percent of inmates return to prison after being released. A 2013 study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice found that inmates who participated in corrections education were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years.

Jeff Horvath, corrections education program coordinator at Tulsa Community, less than 5 percent of inmates who graduate from Tulsa Community’s program return to prison.

“That shows the power of higher education,” Horvath said. “It impacts the economy, the community and families.”


Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com