Governor Approves Budget Including Allocation to Support Formerly Incarcerated Community College Students
SACRAMENTO – This morning, in Los Angeles, the Governor signed the final state budget that includes Senator Bradford’s budget request, which will provide $5 million to California Community Colleges seeking to create programs and dedicate staff to improve chances for formerly incarcerated students.
“For far too long we have been investing our dollars in the business of punishing and locking-away individuals, instead of focusing on what really works to rehabilitate offenders and stop cycles of crime,” said Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). “While this modest, one-time funding is not the ultimate solution to preventing crime, it is a significant step towards using our funding more wisely and focusing on strategies that are proven to have a positive impact on communities.”
The $5 million will be allocated to the Office of the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges and awarded to participating community colleges through a competitive, matching grant of no less than $50,000. The funding will be used to establish on-campus programs or programs within our correctional institutions, to help individuals with their reentry and higher education goals. The funding will provide resources for staff, access to community college courses, and one-on-one services to assist this unique population earn their degrees or certificates, transfer to four-year universities, contribute to local and state economies, and reduce recidivism rates across California.
“We appreciate the efforts of Senator Steven Bradford in securing the necessary funding to support community colleges that are building programs for formerly incarcerated individuals or providing face-to-face instruction to community college students in custody,” said Compton College President, Dr. Keith Curry. “These programs provide a second chance for students and will help close the achievement gaps in access and success for this underrepresented student group. With additional funding and support, Compton College’s award-winning Formerly Incarcerated Students in Transition (F.I.S.T.) program can hopefully become a model for other California community colleges.”
“The fact of the matter is 96% of individuals serving time in our state prison system will eventually be released,” said Senator Bradford. “Out of that 96%, nearly two-thirds will recidivate. Education remains one of the single greatest factors for creating opportunities and pathways that do not lead back to jail or prison and I’m proud of the Governor’s support for the work we are doing in Senate District 35.”
Senator Bradford represents the Los Angeles County communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, San Pedro, Torrance, Watts, Willowbrook, and Wilmington.