"Where We Stand," Dec. 22, 2020

12/22/2020 by Katie Powers

Every day, the Commissary Club community engages in important conversations about the issues that matter most to us. Each week, we’ll highlight our community members’ voices as they respond to issues surrounding criminal justice, prison reform, reentry, and more, across the internet.

#RestorePell

After months of bipartisan gridlock and growing frustrations from the public, the U.S Congress passed a second COVID-19 relief package on Monday, December 21st. In the $898 billion packages, lawmakers agreed to issue stimulus payments of $600 and distribute a federal unemployment benefit of $300 for 11 weeks.

However, according to a New York Times report, the bill also contains several higher education provisions. One such provision restores federal financial aid, or Pell Grant funding, to people in prison which was banned in the 1994 crime bill.

This reversal comes after years of work by activists and lawmakers, including incarcerated college students who have spoken out about how a college education has transformed their lives. The 2019 documentary, College Behind Bars, followed Dyjuan Tatro to pursue a college education from the rigorous BPI program. Thanks to provisions of the stimulus package, more students will have access to the same program.
Friends of Commissary Club took to the internet to share their thoughts on this crucial win.

Dyjuan Tatro

Taniel

P. Gabrielle Foreman

What are your thoughts on this issue? How can Commissary Club work to address it? Join the conversation at www.commissary.club, the exclusive social network for people with criminal records and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We can’t wait to hear from you.