The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the semester for college students across the country – and thousands of incarcerated students are no exception. On the outside, college professors are conducting classes using ZOOM. But in prison, where the vast majority of incarcerated people lack internet access, the options for learning are greatly limited. Many colleges have found that they can no longer enter prisons to teach due to the virus outbreak. This is very unfortunate because research shows that higher education in prison reduces recidivism and saves taxpayer money. College classes help inmates develop self esteem and provide them with a much needed antidote to the despair and monotony of daily prison life. With new programs that the Obama administration began, and President Trump continued, college attendance in prison has been on the rise. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown that in to disarray. We can only hope that the foothold that college programs have established in prison, does not disappear due to the coronavirus.
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