« SCOTUS grants cert on Johnson/ACCA vagueness retroactivity! | Main | Expecting (too?) much crime and punishment talk at Prez Obama's last State of the Union »

January 9, 2016

"Keeping It REAL: Why Congress Must Act to Restore Pell Grant Funding for Prisoners"

The title of this post is the title of this new paper by SpearIt now available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (VCCLEA), a provision of which revoked Pell Grant funding “to any individual who is incarcerated in any federal or state penal institution.”  This essay highlights the counter-productive effects this particular provision has on penological goals.  The essay suggests Congress acknowledge the failures of the ban on Pell Grant funding for prisoners, and restore such funding for all qualified prisoners.

January 9, 2016 at 01:27 PM | Permalink


I remember the day of approval.

Posted by: Maria | Jan 9, 2016 2:43:29 PM

It is wrong to reward a crime with a big loan.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 9, 2016 4:18:11 PM

People will hire felons. Some are chastened and more honest than others. Some have great social skills, and could sell ice to an Eskimo. So what is the real problem?

Threat of ruinous litigation for negligent hiring, or actually intentionally tortious hiring with exemplary damages, since the employer knew or should have known. If you want to attenuate the collateral consequences of criminal convictions, immunize the employers for this narrow scope.

One may also balance the terror by prosecuting or suing employers refusing to hire because of a conviction unrelated to the job. So a pedophile should not be hired by a daycare, but may work as a cashier. A thief should be hired to cashier, but may work in a daycare.

Problem. Big problem. Criminals do not specialize. So the serial killer is a shoplifter. The shoplifter is a rapist. They just have no morals.

This quandary should be resolved in a test jurisdiction, such as a county before enacting any legislation. So the pedophile will still from the till, and the thief will molest little kids in daycare. The odds are higher for that scenario.

If the job is skilled and as well paying as criminality, there may be a good chance for success. That should be resolved empirically before imposing wrongheaded remedies on employers.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 10, 2016 3:04:32 AM

What the hell is a Pell?

Posted by: Liberty1st | Jan 10, 2016 8:56:23 AM

Unless someone's got a working crystal ball, an employer is no more likely to know if a felon with "one" robbery conviction "behind" him, is going to embezzle from him, than he is whether his secretary of 30 years might embezzle from him (and this seems to pop up in the news often).
If people are let out of prison after serving their time, they need to be able to support themselves with a job. They are not all amoral. People make mistakes, they pay for them, some learn from them, some do not. True for felons and non-felons.
I don't think employers should be held accountable for hiring someone with a prior conviction, you can't say "well, they should have known" because nobody knows, does the law allow one to "presume" someone will committ a second crime because they committed a first crime? If that's the case, then the laws need changing. People do things that you never imagine they would do, whether they are felons or not. Giving someone "a chance" after they are out of prison is just the right thing to do, they've paid the debt the law required of them. If they screw up again, they should be the only one accountable, not the employer.

Posted by: kat | Jan 11, 2016 10:12:30 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB