Jails and Prisons

Thousands of inmates will receive Pell grants

Thousands of inmates will receive Pell grants

Some 12,000 prisoners will have access to federal Pell grants to help pay for college courses under an effort the Obama administration is pursuing despite a decades-old congressional ban on offering student financial aid to inmates.

The program, first announced last summer, will bring together 67 colleges and universities -- including several in Maryland -- with 141 federal and state prisons across the country in an effort to reduce recidivism. Only inmates eligible for release will be permitted to enroll in the program.

A "belief in second chances is fundamental to who we are as Americans," Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. told reporters Thursday.