“How did we get here? In other words, what is the history and cultural/social context of your problem? Who are the stakeholders?”
When it comes to how educational programs should be dealt with in state prisons, there are many components to consider. Based on previous reforms done in prisons nationwide, the root of the problem comes with money resources. There is lots of money given to state prisons, 87 billion dollars in the year 2015, but the way to spend it could be changed (“Does the U.S. Spend $80 Billion a Year on Incarceration?”, 2015). In the past, it has been seen that Pell grants have been given to inmates, in which many research has been conducted concluding that with the financial aid (that comes in the form of a Pell Grant), inmates now have the chance to take a high education course. In turn of that decrease in economic pressure on the prisoner and enrolling in classes, the end result of having a diploma ready when released is a positive one (Oakford, et al., 2019, para 3). However, due to controversial prison reforms given by ex-president Bill Clinton, the availability of these grants decreased substantially (Pettit, 2019, para 3). Grants like these provide the economic support needed for low-income individuals, and those in the prison system are not separated from this group, which in turn lowers the recidivism rates overall because of that education received.
Source 1: Oakford, P., Brumfield, C., Goldvale, C., Tatum, L., “Investing in Futures”. Vera Institute of Justice, 2019, January. Retrieved from https://www.vera.org/publications/investing-in-futures-education-in-prison
Importance: This information is important to my research because it shows that there was support from the government to prisoners and it was normalized for educational programs to exist. Not only does this help each individual be prepared for life out of prison but also provides evidence that these individuals have the education for jobs.
Source 2: Pettit, E. “Ending Ban on Pell Grants for Prisoners Is Said to Yield ‘Cascade’ of Benefits”. The Chronicle of Higher Education. 2019, January 16. Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com/article/Ending-Ban-on-Pell-Grants-for/245481
Importance: This information is relevant because, before the changes made by Clinton, educational programs were normalized and seen as a right. After the new implementation of policy, these opportunities are seen as privileges and makes for a cycle of recidivism to occur.