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Roadtrip Nation Is Hitting the Road Again to Explore Postsecondary Education in Prison’s Positive Career Outcomes

April 8, 2024 2-minute read
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April is Second Chance Month. Join us in recognizing incarcerated learners and elevating conversations about solutions for all justice-impacted individuals. Learn more about Ascendium’s commitment to increasing access to high-quality postsecondary education in prison.

Did You Know?

  • For every $1 federal and state governments spend on postsecondary education in prison, they save an estimated $4-5 on reincarceration costs (Source: RAND).
  • Those who enroll in postsecondary education in prison programs are then 48% less likely to be reincarcerated and 12% more likely to be employed post-release (Source: Journal of Experimental Crimonology).

Roadtrip Nation will be hitting the road to film a documentary, an interview series, and other videos focusing on postsecondary education in prison. The road trip will feature formerly incarcerated individuals interviewing their peers who have, as a result of completing postsecondary education in prison programs, been pursuing successful, meaningful careers since their release.

Roadtrip Nation is a nonprofit that uses engaging video and digital storytelling to empower people to define their own road in life. To date, Roadtrip Nation has spent more than 20 years and 500,000 miles traveling the country in their famous Green RV. Their Emmy Award-winning videos and documentaries have been broadcast on public television more than 100,000 times, with an average public television reach of 50 million households.

With its regular airtime on PBS — one of the few channels available in prisons — and broad reach across multiple platforms, Roadtrip Nation is uniquely positioned to change and correct narratives about justice-impacted people. Exposure to successful reentry through postsecondary education can show incarcerated learners that their sentence is not the end of their educational or professional potential. Watching formerly incarcerated individuals succeed in the free world can help them see the relevance of postsecondary education to their own life. The documentary can also demonstrate to employers how much justice-impacted individuals can contribute to their workplaces, while inspiring stakeholders across the country to replicate these programs in their communities.

With the reinstatement of Pell Grants for incarcerated learners and the expansion of postsecondary education in prison programs, the work of narrative change has become increasingly urgent. Changing and correcting narratives around justice-impacted individuals can spur the wider implementation of high-quality postsecondary education in prison programs while influencing broader changes in how these programs are designed and funded. And media can create the conditions for scaling programs and initiatives through the dissemination of promising solutions. Ascendium is pleased to fund Roadtrip Nation’s storytelling and continue leveraging the power of media grantmaking with the goal of creating the conditions for systems change.

Stay tuned for updates on our website, newsletter, and social media channels.