Courtesy: Stephen B. Thornton (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)
Shorter College is one of just two institutions in the state of Arkansas participating in the Second Chance Pell program, a federal initiative granting funding for non-violent inmates to earn college degrees and professional certificates while incarcerated. On Nov. 30, the school will award 25 graduates serving sentences in the Arkansas Department of Correction and Arkansas Community Correction with associate degrees in entrepreneurial studies.
According to officials, Shorter is playing a significant role in reducing recidivism and empowering offenders to productive lives through work and rehabilitation through education.
“The 25 inmates who have earned an associate degree will have a bonafide second chance at life because they will return to freedom with an education and skills they didn’t have when they entered prison,” Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said in a release. “They will leave with the pride of this accomplishment and the confidence that they can succeed in life. Thanks to the Pell Grant program and Shorter College, these men and women have the opportunity to improve life for their families and their community.”
According to the Vera Institute of Justice, incarcerated citizens who participate in prison education programs are 43% less likely to return to prison than non-participants.
“Shorter understands the critical role it plays in assisting the state as it works to return men and women back to their communities with education and skills to live as productive citizens. “As the only HBCU in Arkansas to participate in this program, we are proud to have been selected,” Shorter President O. Jerome Green said. “Second Chance aligns perfectly with our mission of providing an accessible, affordable and high-quality education.”