WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, Congressman French Hill (AR-02) introduced the Shift Back to Society Act, legislation to facilitate a successful transition to employment and readjustment to society for individuals incarcerated in the United States. Modeled after a successful program in Arkansas, the bill would establish a pilot program to provide grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to implement educational programs for eligible offenders and help them successfully transition back into their communities.
Following introduction of the bill, Congressman Hill released the following statement:
“At a time when America has the highest prison population in the world and spends up to $34,000 a year per inmate, it is critical that we enact necessary policies to ensure our criminal justice system is cost-effective while keeping our communities safe and reducing recidivism rates of prison inmates. Central Arkansas's HBCUs are leading the way in offering educational opportunities for inmates returning to society. Inspired by the example of Arkansas Baptist College and Shorter College, I have reintroduced the Shift Back to Society Act which focuses on education as a key component to reducing prison recidivism. Education leads to better choices, jobs, and more accountability that can help break the cycle of criminal behavior in communities across the country.”
Congressman Hill met with central Arkansas HBCU leaders and students in Little Rock to preview the introduction of the Shift Back to Society Act. Click below to watch highlights from KLRT.
Participants at the meeting included Stormy Cubb, Shorter College Director of Sponsored Programs; O. Jerome Green, Shorter College President; Congressman French Hill; Charles King, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Philander Smith College; Regina Favors, Arkansas Baptist College's Interim President; and George Herts, Dean of the Shorter College Office of Academic Affairs.
The Shift Back to Society Act would create a pilot program, allocating $5 million annually in Department of Justice grants for HBCUs to develop educational programs to help criminal offenders transition back into their communities.
Cosponsors of the Shift Back to Society Act include Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL), Congressman Michael Turner (R-OH), Congressman Elanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN).