Of the 650,000 Californians who are incarcerated, on parole or on probation, fewer than 20,000 are enrolled in some form of higher education, a new report from the Campaign for College Opportunity suggests.
Through focus groups with formerly incarcerated people in California who attended a public university, the organization outlined several barriers that people returning from prison face when pursuing an education.
Parole and probation systems in the state do little to prioritize higher education, the authors suggested, and participants said their officers were unsupportive of educational goals. The report recommends the state alter probation and parole requirements so that enrolling in a full- or part-time college program is equivalent to securing a job to meet parole/probation requirements.
The report also identified housing as a barrier to education, with some participants reporting that they struggled to find housing that accepted them as a student and former felon. Whether students could live in campus housing while on parole was also unclear for some participants.