New pilot program allows inmates to get free college education

Education

(WTNH) — Thursday, as students sign up for classes and get ready to go back to college, many inmates in Connecticut prisons are doing the same thing. The Second Chance Pell Grant pilot program allows inmates to take college courses and some will be bused onto the campus of at least one community college.

Holly Hetzel just signed up for classes at Middlesex Community College.

“It would depend on their crime or whatever, but I would rather not be sitting next to a scary person in my class. People are scary enough as it is, never mind inmates,” said Hetzel.

There are four community colleges is participating in the program.

Asnuntuck, Middlesex, Quinebaug, and Three Rivers community colleges. These schools were four of 67 schools selected nationwide by the White House to participate. The federal Pell Grant allows the inmates to take the college classes for free.

Hetzel says it’s hard to believe criminals get a free college education while the general public has to pay for it.

“That is a problem for me too, I don’t think it should be free. They should be treated like us, we have to pay, they have to pay,” said Hetzel.

According to Asnuntuck’s website, “a total of 16 low-risk, near release students will on campus at ACC, with an additional 400 inmates participating solely at area correctional facilities. Many of the students are currently located at low security, reintegration facilities and a high percentage are veterans.”

Of the four community college is participating in the program, not all of them are taking inmates and putting them into the classroom. As a matter of fact, at Middlesex Community College, they are taking the professors and bringing them to the prison to teach the inmates there. The Dean of Students, Adrienne Maslin, says it’s a good idea and can help an inmate turn their life around.

“Because of their education, because they’ll be working hard, because they’ll be studying, it’s a rigorous program. There is a lot they are going to have to do, and a lot of studying,” said Maslin.

Sen. John Kissel, a Republican from Enfield, says he cannot support busing inmates into the community college in his town.

“The state’s decision to bus inmates to ACC raises a slew of questions,” said Kissel. “The safety of staff and students must be paramount. Asnuntuck has an open campus where people come and go all the time. So many things could go wrong with this decision. All it takes is one bad event. I support inmate re-integration efforts in general, but I cannot support this decision. I don’t think it was properly thought through. I strongly urge state officials to reconsider this decision immediately.”

The national goal of this program is to enroll approximately 12,000 incarcerated students across the country who are likely to be released within five years.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Hartford

Labor and Public Employee Committee drafts bills concerning breastfeeding in workplace, recreational marijuana

News /

Dunkin’ Donuts Park to be new COVID vaccine site in Hartford

News /

Suspect jumps 70 feet from I-84 E while evading West Hartford police, CSP say; possible use of force investigation ongoing

News /

Hartford Interval House receives $200K grant

News /

Cake4Kids bakes extra special birthday cakes for Connecticut kids in need

News /

CCSU students move back into dorms Tuesday with plans for frequent COVID testing

News /
More Hartford

U.S. Coast Guard Band based in New London represents CT in 'Parade Across America'

News /

Local organization provides meals to people who need to quarantine due to pandemic

News /

New London Police investigate hate crime incident against member of City Board of Education

News /

East Lyme PD: Two men caught stealing grease from local restaurant

News /

Positive COVID tests within New London’s Public Works Department could lead to delays in garbage pick-up

News /

USS North Dakota returns home to Groton after six month deployment but with changes to homecoming due to pandemic

News /
More New London

Local company donates thermal scanners to Middletown buildings to help city during pandemic

News /

Life Star requested after fire breaks out in Portland home

News /

CT Health officials: Avoid large groups, register group 1B candidates for COVID-19 vaccine as cases rise

News /

Portland public school students begin in-person learning Jan. 19.

News /

Community Health Center distributes COVID-19 vaccines to frontline healthcare workers

News /

Middletown mayor gets COVID vaccine in Phase 1a

News /
More Middlesex

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss