The program tittled “Second Chance Pell” is targeted to help over 12,000 felons and inmates in over 100 prisons in the united states. Getting student loans and grants as a felon can be difficult but for the incarcerated it has literally been impossible. The reason for this is that under a 1994 US law titled, The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, it is illegal to allow current inmates to get pell grants.
Second Chance Pell Grant Executive Order
This executive order by President Obama is another step up for felons and ex-offenders.
Here are some facts and figures about the program.
- Second Chance Pell will be made available to 12,000 inmates
- More than 200 colleges will be participating in the program
- Inmates must have a release date of no longer than 5 years away
- A pell grant will give an inmate $5,815 towards their education needs
A second chance for felons and inmates… OR NOT?
While the Obama administration may be trying to help felons and inmates receive an education we all know that it is nearly impossible to get a job with a felony background. Our organization, Help For Felons feels that this money would be much better spent creating tangible jobs for felons. Getting an education in prison is a great thing but is almost useless to ex-inmates in reality.
This seems to be another executive action taken by President Obama that does not seem to make much sense in our minds. While this program looks great from the outside and may make headlines it is not very helpful in reality.
Leading the charge
Dallas Pell of Education from the Inside Out Coalition led the charge in getting this executive action pushed through. Her father, Senator Pell, a Democrat from Rhode Island was the creator of the Pell Grant.
Unfortunately there is much political debate around this program and other issues involving felon rights. Being that executive action was used to create this program it will most likely not survive for very long. Laws need to be changed or striked from the books in order to truly help ex-offenders and felons.