Why Republicans should support Obama’s Pell grants for prisoners | Editorial

Gov. Chris Christie has spoken eloquently about second chances and redemption. So have a number of his competitors in the Republican presidential race, including Rand Paul, Jeb Bush and Rick Perry.

They were talking about diverting more addicts to drug court, or the senselessness of mandatory minimum prison sentences. The question now is whether they and others in their party will see President Obama’s new pilot program to offer Pell grants for college education to prisoners as part of that same rehabilitative story.

Campaign bluster aside, they should. Giving an inmate a shot at college is completely in line with this philosophy of second chances, and the small government desire to reform a big, expensive prison system that isn’t working.

Even the likes of Grover Norquist, Newt Gingrich and the Koch brothers have come to reverse their thinking on many punitive policies they once supported, and agree we should be helping inmates prepare for life on the outside, instead of merely punishing them.

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