July 31, 2015

Cárdenas Welcomes Education Assistance For Prisoners

Cárdenas Welcomes Education Assistance For Prisoners


(Washington, DC) - Today U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas released the following statement, after the U.S. Department of Education announced its new Second Chance Pell Pilot program to allow prisoners to apply for and receive federal Pell Grants:

“In my 18 years as a legislator, reforming our juvenile justice system has been one of my main priorities. Study after study proves to us the power of education in keeping kids out of jail, whether or not they have been incarcerated before and regardless of what side of town they grew up in,” said Cárdenas. “My parents came to this country with a first and second grade education, and the reason their eleven children succeeded and are now taxpayers and productive members of society is education.

“I applaud the Department of Education for allowing both eligible incarcerated children and adults to apply for Pell Grants. These individuals are willing to work hard for a second chance, and our country should allow them to do that and contribute to society once they are released. I look forward to the results of this promising initiative.”

In October 2014, Cárdenas wrote a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asking the Department to clarify Pell Grant eligibility rules for incarcerated juveniles, and the Department has since issued a Dear Colleague clarification letter. However, thousands of juveniles all over the country remained ineligible for Pell Grants if they were tried as adults (a decision in some cases entirely at the discretion of the prosecutor).