Project Rebound Program: Support and Expansion for the Formerly Incarcerated

AS-3310-17/AA (Rev)

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) recognizes Project Rebound as a valuable program at California State University (CSU) for reintegrating formerly incarcerated individuals into society; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU urge the Governor of California and the California Legislature to provide sufficient line-item funding to the CSU to support and expand Project Rebound; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU request the CSU create a network linking Project Rebound programs, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations, and California Community Colleges to facilitate the transition of formerly incarcerated individuals into Project Rebound programs; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU urge the CSU and the United States Congressional delegates from California to advocate for federal legislation to make permanent the successful Second Chance Pell Pilot Program that benefits prospective Project Rebound Program participants; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU distribute this resolution to the: United States Secretary of Education, Governor of California, CSU Board of Trustees, CSU Chancellor, CSU campus Presidents, CSU campus Senate Chairs, CSU campus Senate Executive Committees, CSU Provosts/Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs, California State Student Association (CSSA), CSU Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association (CSUERFA), United States Congressional Delegation from California, Speaker of the California Assembly, President Pro-tem of the California Senate, California Assembly Member Chris Holden, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary.

RATIONALE: Project Rebound began in 1969 at San Francisco State University (SFSU), with the vision of successfully re-integrating formerly incarcerated individuals into society via higher education. The program was founded by John Keith Irwin, PhD, a formerly incarcerated individual who taught for many years in the Sociology Department at SFSU. The Program has expanded to eight CSU campuses (San Diego, Fullerton, San Bernardino, Fresno, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Long Beach, and Pomona.)

The imprisoned population of California has increased ten-fold since Project Rebound's inception, with over 100,000 people poured back into the communities of the state annually, and with nearly 70% of released offenders returning to prison within three years (the highest rate in the nation); and with the implementation of the "Three Strikes" law, increases in sentencing time for drug-related crimes and the removal of early release for good behavior, greater numbers of Californians are spending more time in prison costing California state tax payers 9.7% of the state budget, compared to 5.9% the state spends on higher education; or, while spending on higher education has declined by two-thirds since 1967, spending on prisons has tripled.

California's expenditures on its correctional system and its public education systems have followed different trajectories over the last few decades. In 1970, corrections received just 3.7 percent of the state's general fund revenue, while the University of California (UC) and the California State University (CSU) systems together received nearly 14 percent. Today, corrections accounts for almost 9 percent of California general funds, while UC and the CSU system receive 5.2 percent. https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter/california-expenditures-corrections-and-public-education.

Statistics indicate that the cost of keeping a prisoner in prison for one year exceeds the cost of educating prisoners for one year by a 10 to 1 ratio; studies have clearly shown that "participants in prison education, vocation and work programs have recidivism rates 20-60 percent lower than those of nonparticipants" (The Nation, March 4, 2005).

However, research has demonstrated that programs like Project Rebound can help alleviate the problems that lead to high rates of recidivism in a way that is cost effective to the State and personally empowering for individuals.

Project Rebound Program creates and continue to foster social networks that broadens general social perspectives of the formerly incarcerated while defining the importance of building a communal environment focused on self-governance through education and the employment of critical thinking skills. Project Rebound programs have demonstrated a successful methodology to reduce recidivism with approximately 95% of Project Rebound's students successfully earning their baccalaureate or master's degrees.

The U.S. criminal justice system holds more than 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 901 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 76 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories. These numbers are growing steadily every year. Per capita, the U.S. incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world. This represents 5% of the world's population. The U.S. imprisons 25% of the incarcerated population of the entire world. One in five incarcerated people are locked up for drug offenses on the federal level. While most people in state and local facilities are not locked up for drug offenses, most states' continued practice of arresting people for drug possession destabilizes individual lives and communities. Drug arrests give residents of over-policed communities criminal records, which then negatively impacts employment prospects and increase recidivism and the likelihood of longer sentences for future offenses.

These numbers do not capture the huge number of people who move in and out of criminal justice facilities and the even larger number of peoples who are affected by the corrections system. Every year, close to 650,000 people leave prisons, but people go to jail over 11 million times each year. The movement of people in and out of jails is particularly high because most of these people have not been convicted. Some are arrested and quickly make bail; while others are impoverished and cannot make bail and must remain incarcerated until their trial. One out of every 31 people in the general population is enmeshed in the US criminal justice system: 1 in 18 men; 1 in 11 African Americans (Pew, 2009: http://www.pewtrusts.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/Reports/sentencing_and_corrections/State_Recidivism_Revolving_Door_America_Prisons.pdf.)

Over 34,000 youth are incarcerated. Most youth are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses, and a large number are locked up for doing things that are not crimes, but technical violations of the requirements of their probation, rather than for a new offense. Such as running away, truancy and "incorrigibility". These numbers do not include the approximately 20,000 youth held by the juvenile justice system. Many of these young people will be coming to the CSU.

Crimmigration: 16,000 people are in federal prison for violating federal immigration laws. An additional 41,000 are civilly detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (http://www.pewtrusts.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/Reports/sentencing_and_corrections/State_Recidivism_Revolving_Door_America_Prisons.pdf).

The Second Chance Pell Grant was initiated by the Obama administration in 2015 to test models to allow incarcerated people to receive Pell Grants, as they had between 1965-1994 when Congress amended the Higher Education Act to exclude them: Drug offenses and some other offenses may affect a formerly incarcerated student's ability to get federal student aid or limit the ability to receive Pell Grant https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-launches-second-chance-pell-pilot-program-incarcerated-individuals.  This program reduces the health and social costs of incarceration to the public, and increase the safety of America's citizens by reducing substance use related crime and violence. Additional anticipated outcomes include: increased number of individuals served; increased abstinence from substance use; increased employment rates; decreased recidivism rates; increased housing stability; decreased criminal justice involvement; improved individual and family functioning and well-being; increased social connectedness; and decreased risky behaviors.

Approved Unanimously - January 26, 2018

 


 
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