July 06, 2016
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LAKE CITY, Fla. - Florida Gateway College and the Florida Department of Corrections have been selected by the United States Department of Education as one of 67 experimental sites for the Department’s Second Chance Pell Grant initiative. The program, to be offered at Columbia Correctional Institution Annex, will offer courses to 50 inmates beginning the spring 2017 semester. The goal of the program is to reduce recidivism through education and employment opportunities in high demand fields.
The program will offer Pell Grant eligibility to participants selected and supervised by the Florida Department of Corrections that are eligible for upcoming release back to the community. Florida Gateway College instructors will offer secure on-site and online training in high-demand occupational fields such as water quality operations and horticulture. Courses leading to the Associate of Arts degree will also be offered. Officials at Columbia Correctional Institution Annex will help facilitate the program by housing program participants in shared housing units.
“Florida Gateway College is pleased to be selected as the only college or university in Florida to participate in the Second Chance Pell Experiment” said Dr. Lawrence Barrett, President of Florida Gateway College. “Dating to the 1970’s, Florida Gateway has had successful partnerships with the Florida Department of Corrections in providing education options to offenders nearing release” said Barrett.
Department Secretary Julie Jones said, “We are excited for this partnership, which will not only benefit the inmates, but the community as a well. Preparing inmates for successful reintegration through effective educational and training opportunities is a critical aspect of the Department’s mission to transform lives and reduce recidivism.”
In 2013, a RAND Corporation study showed a four-to-one return on taxpayer investment for correctional education programs. The study also indicated that program participants were 43 percent less likely to reoffend after release. Said President Barrett, “The results of these collaborations have been demonstrated to reduce recidivism, increase employment and help these individuals become productive ex-offenders.”
For further information, please contact Daniel Cronrath at Florida Gateway College (386) 754-4241 or the Florida Department of Corrections (850) 488-0420.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs 24,000 members statewide, incarcerates approximately 99,000 inmates and supervises nearly 140,000 offenders in the community.