California Budget Includes $5 Million for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Community College Students

06/29/18

By The Opportunity Institute and Stanford Criminal Justice Center

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California Governor Jerry Brown just signed a state budget that demonstrates the state’s strong commitment to education for all by allocating $5 million to California community colleges serving incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students.

California leads the nation in providing high-quality college opportunities to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students through its public system. The state has nearly 4,500 incarcerated students enrolled in face-to-face community college degree pathways, in 33 of 35 state prisons. More than 30 of the state’s community colleges offer reentry support to formerly incarcerated students, either through on-campus programs or student groups, and a third of the state’s California State University campuses have programs for formerly incarcerated students.

Statement from Rebecca Silbert, director of Corrections to College California — a joint project of The Opportunity Institute and the Stanford Criminal Justice Center:

“We know that higher education reduces recidivism and is drastically less expensive than returning someone to prison. But more importantly, attaining a college degree or credential transforms lives and families, affecting generations to come.”

“This $5 million reflects an impressive commitment from the state and the Governor to support this new generation of students. We are proud that California leads the way in demonstrating that it’s possible to sustainably and creatively bring about criminal justice reform.”

The $5 million will be allocated to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and awarded to community colleges through a competitive request for proposals process that will require community colleges to provide matching funds. The funding will be used to grow and establish on-campus community college programs for formerly incarcerated students, as well as face-to-face community college degree programs within correctional institutions.

Corrections to College California is part of Renewing Communities, a five-year initiative designed to transform the public higher education system so that the state’s colleges and universities serve incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students as part of their mission. It is a joint project of The Opportunity Institute and the Stanford Criminal Justice Center. It is supported by 13 state and national foundations and groups, including The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, ECMC Foundation, Ford Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, Rosenberg Foundation, Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation, The Ballmer Group, The California Wellness Foundation, The California Endowment, Weingart Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The Art for Justice Fund.

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