The Second Chance Pell Pilot Program was announced by the Obama administration last Friday. The U.S. Department of Education chose 67 colleges and universities to partner with more than 100 correctional institutions. One of those selected was South Central College.

According to the announcement, about 12,000 prisoners are expected to benefit from the program. Each school will have classroom instruction, online courses or a mix of both.

The program is aimed at inmates who will be released in the next five years. Other Minnesota schools selected were Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and Pine Technical and Community College. South Central College expects to serve about 25 students on a certificate program.

According to the administration announcement, recent studies show that incarcerated individuals who participate in correctional education are 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years than prisoners who did not participate in any correctional education programs, resulting in estimates that for every $1 invested in correctional education programs, $4 to $5 are saved on re-incarceration costs.

Photo by Marina Nezhinkay / Thinkstock