There are a range of federal grants designed to help ex-felons adapt to civilian life by accessing education and vocational training. These programs help ex-felons find sustained employment within their communities and help them stay away from criminal activity. Grants are available through various government departments including the Department of Education and the Bureau of Justice Assistance
Second Chance Assistance
Ex-felons receive community support through Second Chance funds. The Second Chance Act (SCA) (2008) made hundreds of millions of dollars available to federal agencies across the United States. SCA funds are designed to fund job training courses that help ex-offenders find sustained employment once they are released from prison. Those eligible for assistance include non-profit agencies which finance programs that focus on educating underprivileged community members and to sustain drug rehabilitation clinics across the United States. SCA grants are also used to develop education and rehabilitation programs within prisons as well as civilian communities. SCA payments are channeled to individual state authorities from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).
Pell Grants offer financial support to low-income individuals who want to further their educations. Pell Grant funds are distributed by the Department of Education to help students meet basic living expenses such as tuition costs, heating bills, grocery purchases and rent.
Pell Grants are not specifically intended for ex-felons, but ex-felons are eligible to apply for assistance. Acquiring an education can help ex-felons find sustained, well-paid employment and avoid lapsing back into a life of crime.
The U.S. Department of Education has specific criteria which dictate what kind of ex-offenders can apply for support under the Pell Grant program. Candidates with recent convictions for dealing or possessing narcotics are usually ineligible for help. This restriction can be overturned however if you are prepared to complete a state-approved drug rehabilitation course.
Youth Felon Assistance
The Youth Offender support program assists ex-criminals aged between 14 and 24. Youth Offender funds are administered through the Department of Labor and are intended to guide young offenders away from gang activity and associated crimes. Youth Offender funds are designed to create and sustain higher employment rates among the young by helping them develop vocational skills. Funds are used to initiate and sustain job training programs and for basic education in important areas such as English and Math. Grants are also available for apprenticeship programs across a range of industries.