Patricia Cardenas

About Half of High Schools Release Discipline Records to Colleges for Admissions

“There’s a bias effect,” Sinocruz said. “If I see a student has been disciplined three times for ‘insubordination,’ ‘disrespect,’ some of these categories that are overly vague and capture very minor incidents, it’s hard not to look at the students as somehow disrespectful, even if it was for a minor thing.

“A lot of times the categories that are used are much stronger, much more punitive-sounding than what actually happened.”

Fledgling NJ Program Paves a Path from Corrections to College

EDITOR’S NOTE: This month, our sister publication Youth Today features a  piece on prison-to-college initiatives by Jamaal Abdul-Alim, a Washington D.C.-based freelance writer. Youth Today, is dedicated to providing quality journalism on issues of interest to those involved in the youth services industry. This, of course, includes stories in the arena of juvenile justice such as Jamaal’s excellent story well as another juvenile justice-related piece on reforms taking place in the District of Columbia written by our correspondent there Kaukab Jhumra Smith. But this month’s issue also includes stories on what youth-oriented organizations should do to prepare for natural disasters, how to head off abusive relationships between teens, book reviews, opinion pieces, an explainer on the art of statistics and a photo spread on the impact of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on the youth-oriented organizations and young people. Youth Today prints six time a year.

Exploring the Use of Pell Grants To Go From Prison to College

NEWARK, N.J. – Recidivism could be cut and public dollars could be saved if lawmakers lifted a longstanding federal ban on Pell grants to prisoners. Those were some of the key arguments made at Rutgers University last week by a group of academics, criminal justice reformers and formerly incarcerated individuals in a fledgling program meant to serve as a bridge from a youth correctional facility to college. John J. Farmer, Jr., former New Jersey attorney general and now Dean and Professor of Law at the Rutgers School of Law, called the restoration of Pell grants for prisoners “one of the most important dialogues we can have in the context of law enforcement.”

“I think that education in our prisons is the key to preventing recidivism,” Farmer said. Farmer made his remarks Thursday at the Rutgers University Paul Robeson Campus Center during an event titled “Pell Grants and Prison Education: How Pell Grant Access in Prison Transforms Lives.”

Among those who spoke in support of lifting the ban on Pell grants to prisoners was Dallas Pell, daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell, father of Pell grants. Pell, who is founder of an organization called Pell Grants for Public Safety, said providing education for individuals in prison is a “no-brainer” and “one of the most effective tools we have to make our community safe.”

Pell and various speakers noted how a plethora of studies have repeatedly found that higher education for prisoners significantly reduces their likelihood of returning to prison.