IBJNews

Budget cuts will limit Indiana inmate education

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana lawmakers' decision to cut off Frank O'Bannon Grants to state prison inmates attending college could make it harder for prisoners to find employment when they're released, supporters of the program fear.

Department of Correction officials say lawmakers allocated just $2 million a year to DOC for correctional education. That's just enough to allow incarcerated students nearing completion of their degrees to continue on to graduation, The Star Press of Muncie reported.

Statewide, nearly 2,500 incarcerated students received more than $9 million in O'Bannon grants in 2009-10. That was nearly a third of the nearly $30 million overall total awarded in O'Bannon grants year.

Claudia Braman, executive director of the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana, said the agency had provided up to $12 million a year to fund inmates' education. But lawmakers have changed funding for the prison education program and it's now being administered through the Department of Correction.

In the past, state law said the student assistance commission "may deny assistance" to O'Bannon recipients confined at a penal facility.

"The law stated that we did not have to fund them, but we had been," Braman said. "We are now prohibited from it."

Ball State University is the largest educator of incarcerated students in Indiana. It employs nearly 80 faculty and several site managers inside five state prisons in New Castle, Michigan City, Pendleton and Bunker Hill.

Indiana State University, Grace College, Oakland City University, Purdue University North Central and Ivy Tech Community College also provide inmate education.

Ball State spokesman Tony Proudfoot said the impact of the cuts on Ball State's program hasn't been determined yet.

John Nally, the Department of Correction's education director, told The Star Press the state will have to rebuild the correctional education program as its economy recovers. He expects the DOC to stop funding bachelor's degrees and focus only on associate degrees and possibly vocational certificates in fields like welding and temperature controls.

Nally told the Tribune-Star in Terre Haute that the state will request proposals to provide post-secondary programs in the adult prison system as it looks to 2012.

Inmates can earn reductions in their sentences by obtaining college degrees while they're in prison. An associate's degree can shave off up to one year, and a bachelor's degree up to two years.

About 2,400 of the department's 28,000 inmates are currently pursuing college degrees.

"That's a big college operation, the biggest in the nation," Nally said. "There's nobody like us."

ADVERTISEMENT

  • sounds backwards to me
    Seems to me that the millions of dollars being spent to provide those in correctional facility with associate and bachelor degrees would be better spent providing a fully funded college education to our youth looking to enter college but unable to secure funding. Educate them before they go to prison, in an effort to avoid prison.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

ADVERTISEMENT