Prisoners in NJ who are incarcerated and want to take college courses may soon be able to get state financial aid. Providing financial aid for prisoners could extend resources to online content needed for a traditional college degree. The Internet is fundamental to the modern college curriculum. SecureLearn can provide offenders with access to that content in a highly secure environment. SecureLearn works with a prison’s services team to make available online content needed by teachers and sanctioned by the prison.
There is a $4 to $5 return realized in state incarceration costs for every dollar invested in correctional education programs during the first three years of a prisoner’s release. As a result, financial aid for prisoners yields a 300% to 400% return on investment. Not too shabby.
According to the DOC’s 2016 Release Outcome Report, 10,835 prisoners were released from New Jersey correctional facilities in 2011. In addition, the prisoner re-incarceration rate was 31.3% . It cost the state close to $55,000 per inmate to house those incarcerated in 2014. As a result, the cost to the NJ DOC was nearly $187 million a year. SecureLearn and NJ’s discounted tuition are a fraction of the cost.
College courses are currently offered in seven of the New Jersey’s correctional facilities through the New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons Consortium.