Denying Pell Grants to Prisoners: Race, Class, and the Philosophy of Mass Incarceration

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This paper asks whether prisoners should have access to Pell Grants, for which they are currently ineligible. In the first section, the author considers philosophical arguments relating to the present ban by examining traditional concerns of deterrence, rehabilitation, and retribution. The second section explores two arguments against a more inclusive Pell Grant policy. In the third section the author argues that restoring higher education grants to prisoners is compelling, especially when one considers issues of race and class. The paper concludes by using Erich Fromm’s social theory to call into question the justice, ethics, and rationality of those societies that normalize mass incarceration.
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Archival date: 2015-02-07
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