Submitted on Friday, 2/7/2020, at 4:33 PM

The Daily Hampshire Gazette recently published a piece on the Inside-Out program, in which “men incarcerated in the Hampshire County Jail in Northampton can take a number of tuition-free credit-bearing courses taught by UMass and Amherst College professors, often alongside matriculated college students who travel to the jail for the classes,” wrote UMass journalism professor Razvan Sibii.

“In a country where one-third of adults under the age of 30 struggle with student loan debt, why would you go out of your way to provide free college classes to people who have been locked up after being found guilty of breaking the law?” Sibii wrote. “Because it makes our communities safer, because it chips away at systemic inequality, and because we can, and should, walk and chew gum at the same time.”

“A decade’ worth of scientific research has left no doubt that educational programs significantly decrease one’s risk of recidivating (by up to 43%!), improve one’s chances of getting a job after release, and even help one’s children avoid falling into the same traps as their parents,” she wrote.