include a program that will link 67 colleges and universities
with 141 correctional facilities to provide education and
training to about 12,000 inmates. The program will offer federal
Pell grants to prisoners, with an emphasis on inmates set to be
released within five years of starting classes.
"The bottom line is that our communities are less safe when the
stigma of incarceration prevents Americans from truly ever
shedding their prison jumpsuit," White House senior adviser
Valerie Jarrett said on a call with reporters.
"When people leave prisons and can't turn their lives around,
they too often end up back behind bars," she said.
Other programs unveiled on Friday will offer $31 million in
grants for organizations to offer occupational training and
apprenticeship opportunities for young adults and more than $5
million to organizations that help inmates prepare for
With more than 2.2 million people in U.S. prisons and jails,
President Barack Obama has pushed for changes to the nation's
criminal justice system as he prepares to leave office.
Despite bipartisan support for reform of mandatory minimum
sentences for some non-violent federal drug offenders,
legislation addressing the issue has stalled in Congress.
Jarrett said the White House remains hopeful that criminal
justice reform will be approved by lawmakers.
"We would like to see those bills move forward as quickly as
possible," she said. "We are going to do everything we can to
work with members on both sides of the aisle to make sure it
comes to fruition."
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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