A report released today by the Stanford Criminal Justice Center at Stanford Law School and the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at UC Berkeley School of Law calls on California to make college education accessible for currently and formerly incarcerated  people.

Degrees of Freedom documents the state’s growing need for college-educated workers and explains how its 112 community colleges and 33 public colleges and universities can provide affordable, high-quality higher education to prepare thousands involved with the criminal justice system to join the workforce. Based on 175 interviews and extensive research, the report demonstrates that college education reduces recidivism, renews communities, and strengthens economies, offering valuable resources for policy makers, prospective students, and college administrators interested in prison education programs in California and elsewhere in the United States.

Our support for this research comes as part of Renewing Communities, an effort aiming to improve educational access in California’s correctional facilities and beyond. The goal is to “dramatically reduce recidivism by giving inmates the tools they need to transform their  lives and contribute to the well-being of their communities upon release,” says program officer Douglas Wood.

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The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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