Education helps lower prison recidivism rates, thereby reducing crime. Washington legislators should lift a ban on using state funds for higher education in prison.
House Higher Education Committee Chairman Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, proposes House Bill 1429 to allow the state Department of Corrections to reallocate the agency’s existing education funds to include higher education.
Two decades ago, the Legislature prohibited using state money for postsecondary in-prison education programs.
Federal grants and other private resources currently pay for in-prison associate-degree programs. Inmates engaged in learning are easier to manage, numerous studies have found. They also are better prepared with job skills and vocational training to return to society and contribute to a more productive workforce for in-prison jobs. HB 1429 would help expand associate-degree programs in prison.