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The Landscape of Postsecondary Education in Prison and the Influence of Second Chance Pell: An Analysis of Transferability, Credit-Bearing Status, and Accreditation

Author(s): Erin L. Castro, Rebecca K. Hunter, Tara Hardison, Vanessa Johnson-Ojeda

Publisher: The Prison Journal

Year: 2018


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This article documents availability, accreditation, institution type, and geographical distribution of postsecondary education in prison across the United States. Using descriptive analysis, we report the total number of postsecondary institutions currently providing credit-bearing coursework to incarcerated people and discuss the influence of the federal Second Chance Pell Pilot Program on these findings. Focusing on issues of equity and quality, we use a critical framework to broadly assess the current status of the field and to document what constitutes postsecondary education in prison. In conclusion, we provide implications and suggestions for expanding quality postsecondary educational opportunity for incarcerated college students.

Last Updated: 7/18/22