Formerly Incarcerated People in Higher Education

Access to educational institutions in the United States is a formidable challenge for people with criminal records. While many self-educate, people in state prisons are much less likely to have graduated from high school or to have attended college than people who are not incarcerated. Without access to formal education, including some of the skills and knowledge acquired from attending a postsecondary education, life pathways for people who are released from prison are narrowed. After briefly detailing the current prison population in the United States, this entry reviews the historical context of higher education for persons exiting prison and current efforts for access to education.

U.S. Prison Population

The United States has the world’s largest prison population: At the end of 2018, over 2 million people were ...

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