SB 270 Allows inmate enrollment in community college

VOTE: YES – Signed into law by Gov. Kotek on 6-6-23, effective 1-1-24
Status (overview) of bill:

This an example of your testimony paying off. The bill is amended to provide courses in the correctional institutions. Changed vote to YES:

The Department of Corrections may enter into an agreement (with community colleges any where in the state) to offer an academic program under this section only if the program is consistent with administration rules and regulations adopted by the Department of Corrections and, as applicable, federal regulations relating to the federal Pell Grant.

————Prior to Amendment——

This bill authorizes adult in custody to enroll in an academic program at any community college in the state, any post-secondary distance learning academic program or any other higher education academic program that adult in custody applies for and is accepted into, provided that enrollment in academic program is consistent with administrative rules and regulations adopted by Department of Corrections.

“Adult in custody” means a person sentenced to a period of incarceration in a prison or other correctional facility until such time as a lawful release authority authorizes the release of the person.

Even though there is authority for administrative rules, rules cannot go beyond what the statute calls for. This proposal allows inmate to apply and attend in person any community college in the state, which raises the question of transportation, guards for safety of students, and who pays for the schooling, transportation and guards. There isn’t a limitation on the degree of conviction, which is another issue that adds risk.

Punishment for a crime is not a summer camp to come and go. This bill should be limited to distance programs with good behavior qualifications.

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