The grant program announced Monday will invest in innovative programs designed to help prisoners to successfully re-enter society with the help of education and workforce training, the department said in a release.
Eligible applicants include adult education providers partnering to link education in state correctional facilities with local communities, the department said.
Every year, more than 700,000 incarcerated individuals leave federal and state prisons, education officials said. Yet, existing policies and programs too often don't prepare these individuals to re-enter society, resulting in four of every 10 individuals committing new crimes or violating terms of their release within three years.
"Education is key to creating successful pathways toward prosperity and opportunity for children and adults," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. "Promoting effective policies that offer education and workforce training will protect our communities and benefit our economy."
The one-time grant funding comes from the Second Chance Act administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance in the Justice Department.