Prepared for the Boston Foundation and signed onto by nearly two dozen representatives from across the political spectrum, Unlocking College: Strengthening Massachusetts’ Commitment to College in Prison explores the landscape of educational opportunities in Massachusetts prisons. The report finds that despite evidence that educational opportunities improve racial equity and reduce recidivism, Massachusetts program face systemic challenges that have prevented program expansion.
Addressing these issues is a moral and economic imperative - and it is a path a number of other states with both liberal and conservative leaders have already taken. The second half of the report explores lessons Massachusetts could take from these other states to create a broader system that complements the state's notable efforts to reduce the overall prison population statewide. Allowing college-in-prison programs to grow within the Massachusetts Department of Corrections would be the first, best step in the process, saving money and unlocking greater opportunities for thousands of people in the state.