New Report on State Support for Incarcerated Students


A new report by the Education Trust, a research and advocacy organization focused on closing equity gaps in education, analyzes supports for currently and formerly incarcerated students in eight states. The report was released Tuesday and provides state-specific guides for policy makers and advocates for incarcerated students to overturn barriers to higher education.

The research in the report was spearheaded by the inaugural cohort of the Justice Fellows Policy Program, a group of formerly incarcerated people who advise the Education Trust on its policy recommendations related to prison education. The report examines state policies that affect incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students in California, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.

The states are assessed based on eight policy criteria, including whether incarcerated students have access to state financial aid and can have their sentences reduced by participating in college programs, and whether colleges and universities in the state are banned from asking about criminal history on applications.

“We deserve our freedom,” said a letter from the Justice Fellows included in the report. “We deserve an education. And so do the millions of currently and formerly incarcerated Americans who have been failed by broken systems and poor public leadership.”


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