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July 28, 2015

Foundations Get Behind Push for Higher Learning in Prisons

A number of prominent foundations are putting money into college courses behind bars as policy makers take a fresh look at efforts to prepare inmates for life outside prison, The Wall Street Journal writes.

Doris Buffett's Sunshine Lady Foundation and the Ford Foundation have contributed millions of dollars in recent years to college-credit programs for prisoners, and Kresge and Andrew W. Mellon Foundations awarded their first such grants this year.

Congress rendered inmates ineligible for federal college grants in the 1990s, but California and New York have recently explored using state money for prison courses as studies show show a strong correlation between education and reduced recidivism.

Ms. Buffett, whose organization has backed such programs for more than a decade, said there has been a "surge" in philanthropic interest in prisoner education, which she called "a worthwhile use of money" that will "do what we want it to."