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The Stanford Criminal Justice Center and the Opportunity Institute recently worked together to release a joint study indicating that California leads the country in terms of providing high quality college education opportunities to formerly incarcerated and currently incarcerated students. By the fall of 2017, nearly 4,500 incarcerated students throughout California were enrolled in community college classes in 34 of the state’s 35 prisons.

This is more than in any other state. Hundreds more of those students are currently pending enrollment. In 2014, only one prison had a college program through a private university and no students were enrolled in face-to-face community college classes.

Thousands of previously incarcerated students are also attending California’s State University, The University of California, and community colleges across the state. One-third of the 114 community colleges located across California have student support programs or groups for formally incarcerated students. In 2014, Governor Brown signed into law an act that allowed community colleges to offer face-to-face courses inside state prisons and to receive compensation for teaching incarcerated students as if they were on the home campus.

There are no undergraduate admission barriers for students who been in the criminal justice system across California’s public colleges and universities. Low income incarcerated students also have the opportunity to access educational opportunities through the California College Promise Grant, just like any other student throughout the state, which covers their community college tuition. However, California is an exception. The study found that California has built a new generation of college students and graduates. If you are curious about the educational implications of being accused of a crime, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Putting the past behind you and working towards a better future are some of the most common goals for anyone who has been accused and convicted in California. Knowing the stakes and retaining a lawyer who cares about your future can make a big difference in how you’re able to move on with your life after being accused of a minor or serious crime.