St. Francis College post-prison program provides free education to those formerly incarcerated
Since 2014, St. Francis College has opened its doors to unconventional students with a post-prison program. Now, it is expanding its efforts.
Alyssa Rojas says she is ready to start a new chapter. She’s enrolled in the post-prison program at St. Francis College and will graduate in just two months.
“It feels good, it feels like maybe I'm something someone could be proud of now. So that's a big thing for me,” said Rojas.
Rojas says she found herself in trouble throughout her earlier years and at one point on Rikers Island. However, she says her past did not dictate her future through the program, that provides financial aid and scholarships.
This creates opportunities for those with past criminal history.
“People who are coming home deserve a second chance. They deserve support. And it is very exciting to see a national movement recognizing these issues,” said Professor Emily Horowitz.
The college is now expanding the program with a partnership alongside “Guns for Grants.” This is an initiative aiming to provide free education when a New Yorker turns over a gun.
“The goal is to be able to transfer illegal firearms off the street and give the opportunity to those who want to change their lives,” said founder Rashid Littlejohn.
Littlejohn says that while gun buybacks have shown success, further representative measures like this are needed.