Two NH Community Colleges Join Second Chance Pell Experience / Public News Service

Two community colleges in New Hampshire are joining the Second Chance Pell experiment through the US Department of Education to offer courses and degrees or diplomas to incarcerated people in their areas.

White Mountains Community College is one of them. He is based in Berlin, which has two penal institutions: FCI Berlin, a federal prison; and the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Institution, a state prison. Dr. Kristin Miller, WMCC vice president for academic affairs, said her Second Chance Pell program will begin by offering liberal arts and business administration programs.

“Access to education is really difficult for everyone, not to mention those who are incarcerated,” she said, “so it allows students to improve while they are there. , and then to be able to support the workforce in their communities.”

Miller noted that people who receive an education while serving their sentence are less likely to end up in prison once released. Studies have shown that young people in particular are more likely to be re-arrested after leaving prison, but also have a lot to gain from an education while they are there.

The other participating school is NHTI-Concord’s Community College, for its proximity to the New Hampshire State Prison for Men. Dr. Andrew Fisher, vice president of academic affairs at NHTI, said incarcerated students will be able to take courses in advanced manufacturing – a program already available for Granite Staters in transitional housing – as well as hospitality, the tourism and medical billing.

“Medical billing allows for flexible working – flexible work hours, flexible work environments and experiences,” he said, “and so it’s quite naturally suited to the ability to support students once out of incarcerated status and transitional housing, and then even Beyond that.”

Fisher added that this program is important because it provides job skills that people can use upon release.

“But it also has a lot to do with confidence in feeling, within a standardized education system, that you are part of society and that you are able to acquire degrees that, outside of that system, have value and meaning.

The Second Chance Pell Experiment was first launched during the Obama-Biden administration in 2015 and has helped incarcerated students earn more than $7,000.

Support for this report was provided by Lumina Foundation.

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