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Restoration of Prisoners’ Pell Grant Eligibility

WHEREAS, the NAACP ratified the resolution calling for the Restoration of Prisoners' Pell Grant Eligibility on October 20, 2007; and 

WHEREAS, the Constitution Project issued the Smart on Crime: Recommendations for the Next Administration & Congress report 2008, endorsing the restoration of ―Pell Grant Eligibility to Prisoners;‖ and 

WHEREAS, President Barack Obama called for every American to pursue some form of education beyond high school on February 24, 2009; and 

WHEREAS, incarceration rates are at historic highs, with the majority of prisoners in the United States being persons of color; and 

WHEREAS, recidivism rates are increasing, with nearly seven-out-of-ten of all paroled prisoners being rearrested within three years of their release; and 

WHEREAS, Post-Secondary Correctional Education has repeatedly proven to be one of the most effective rehabilitation opportunities in corrections, routinely reducing recidivism to less than 20% and many times to less than 10% for graduates; and 

WHEREAS, there are more Black males incarcerated in the nation's prisons than are enrolled on American college and university campuses; and 

WHEREAS, higher education is the most important determinant to economic and professional success, with degree-possessing parolees having the highest employment and wage rates of released prisoners, helping to restore ―social capital‖ to communities devastated by historical under investment in socio-economic-political opportunities; and 

WHEREAS, the exclusion of prisoners from the Pell Grant program did not provide a single additional grant to traditional students, but expelled tens-of-thousands of prisoner- students from Post-Secondary Correctional Education programs, resulting in wholesale program closings and opportunity reductions across the nation; and 

WHEREAS, restoration of prisoner Pell Grant eligibility will not deprive a single qualifying traditional student of funding, will not substantially affect students' grant awards nor cause an overall program cost increase, while allowing tens-of-thousands of prisoner-students to return to the edifying experience of college classrooms; and 

WHEREAS, the American Higher Education Consortium, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education endorse the restoration of eligibility for financial aid for ―disenfranchised populations, including prisoners; and 

WHEREAS, the Correctional Education Association, Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants, and the Institute for Higher Education Policy also advocate the restoration of prisoners' Pell Grant Eligibility; and 

WHEREAS, Pell Grant funding eligibility is crucial to expanding an equitable Post- Secondary Education Opportunity in the United States' prisons; and 

WHEREAS, more specifically the restoration of Prisoners' Pell Grant eligibility will result in numerically the single greatest opportunity to increase (100,000+) people of color collegiate enrollments in history. 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms its call upon the Congress of the United States of America to restore prisoners' Pell Grant eligibility; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all units and members lobby Congress to restore prisoners' Pell Grant Eligibility by repealing PL 110-315 of the Higher Education Reauthorization Act 2008; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that our units also actively educate their members to the encompassing socio-economic benefits of providing higher education opportunities to prisoners; and 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that our units aggressively avail themselves of opportunities to educate others to these benefits. 

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