The White House [official website] announced [press release] on Friday a series of programs aimed at ensuring that former prisoners have better resources to transition back into the community. The administration said that improving education and job opportunities can reduce crime. One of the programs will provide 12,000 state and federal prison inmates government funding in order for them to take college courses. The measures will link [Reuters report] 67 colleges and universities with 141 correctional facilities to provide education and training offer federal Pell grants to prisoners, and offer grants to organizations to offer occupational training and apprenticeship opportunities. Other programs will also provide funding to organizations to provide job training to young adults, develop career pathways programs for residents of high-poverty areas, and provide mentorship and career training to high school students at risk of dropping out.
This latest announcement adds on to the Obama Administration’s past criminal justice reform efforts [WH backgrounder]. President Obama has commuted [press release] the sentences of more men and women than the past six presidents combined, and ordered [WP report] the Attorney General to review the use of solitary confinement. Conservative groups have criticized [Daily Signalreport] the Obama’s efforts as harming law enforcement’s abilities to “dismantle and disrupt drug trafficking organizations.” Republicans have also insisted on requiring federal prosecutors to “prove that white-collar defendants acted knowingly to violate the law,” but the Administration and Democrats maintain [The Hill report] that those provisions would make it harder for the government to prosecute corporate crimes.