In April 2020, the U.S. Department of Education expanded the Second-Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative, a program that lets colleges provide need-based Pell Grants to people who are incarcerated in state or federal prisons. The vast majority of incarcerated people will one day return home. Research has shown that those who participate in education programs are less likely to return to prison once released, are more likely to find jobs and/or start businesses, and are better equipped to play productive and positive roles within their communities.
Historically Black Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, is the latest college to begin classes for inmates at a correctional institution. In mid-June, Lane College began offering classes to inmates at the Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville, Tennessee. At the successful completion of the program of study, students will be awarded a bachelor’s degree in business. Lane’s initial cohort of students consists of 11 men. They are expected to graduate in 2025.
“Lane’s entry into offering post-secondary education to incarcerated persons is both historic and exciting,’ said Logan Hampton, president of Lane College. “The essence of the Lane College Mission is to ‘develop the whole student.’ Our dedication to this essential component of our mission is to educate, develop, and transform the student wherever s/he is found…both beyond and behind the walls of prison. The men who complete their course of study and graduate will be released at the end of their sentence and enter the free world armed with an accredited degree that will open doors that would ordinarily and sadly be closed to them. I salute our newest students for their desire to obtain a liberal arts education and I am so pleased that Lane College can assist them in this endeavor.”