The Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education announced today a new, nearly $1 million grant fund entitled, “Promoting Reentry Success through Continuity of Educational Opportunities” (PRSCEO), that will invest in innovative programs preparing incarcerated individuals to successfully reenter society with the support of education and workforce training. Eligible applicants include adult education providers partnering to connect education in state correctional facilities with local communities.
PRSCEO provides an important opportunity for applicants to create new approaches and improvements for existing rehabilitation services. Every year, more than 700,000 incarcerated individuals leave federal and state prisons. Yet, existing policies and programs too often fail to prepare released prisoners to reenter society, leading 4 of every 10 to commit new crimes or violate terms of their release within 3 years. Failure to support successful rehabilitation costs states more than $50 billion annually.
Based on a cooperative agreement, the one-time grant funding comes from a section of the Second Chance Act, administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a component within the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice.
“Expanding access to education is a proven strategy for reducing recidivism and preventing crime,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “By working together to support education and training programs for those rejoining our communities, the Departments of Justice and Education are helping to improve outcomes and ensure public safety.”
“Education is key to creating successful pathways toward prosperity and opportunity for children and adults,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Promoting effective policies that offer education and workforce training to low-skill individuals will protect our communities and benefit our economy.”
The announcement was made today during a Department of Education-hosted Correctional Education Summit that gathered outside experts engaged in pursuing developing innovations to improve educational opportunities for youth and adults in secure confinement facilities. In conjunction with the event, the Department of Education released a new Reentry Education Model guidance document. Guidance outlined in the reentry model offers evidence-based improvements to support low-skill individuals leaving prison to successfully transition back into society through education and career advancement.
Suggested improvements include establishing an integrated reentry program that offers and incorporates education services, workforce training, and job search support into intake and prerelease processes and links education to employment services; targeting job support to labor market demands that do not have criminal history restrictions; using technology to increase program access and data to measure performance and outcomes; and conducting thorough program evaluations to further share lessons learned and best practices.
Additional guidance on educational resources for incarcerated individuals reintegrating into society is available through the Department of Education‘s Office of Vocational and Adult Education’s Take Charge of Your Future. The guide was recently updated to offer advice and information that serves a broader population, members of the community corrections population – the nearly five million Americans on parole or probation — as well as incarcerated individuals.
Applications will be accepted until Dec. 26, 2012. The Department of Education anticipates awarding two to four grants ranging from $200,000 to $400,000. Awards will be made in January 2013.