Issues of mass incarceration and criminalization in American society are well documented. For individuals looking to change their lives and put the stigma of their pasts behind them, higher education provides an opportunity for upward social and economic mobility. Despite the opportunity a college education provides, students with criminal backgrounds (justice-involved/impacted individuals) often encounter cultural and structural barriers which negatively affect issues of access and success.
As student affairs professionals, we must contend with the fundamental question of whether or not institutions of higher education have a responsibility to support these students. Student affairs professionals may encounter justice-involved/impacted individuals and feel unsure about how to best support this student population.
This session will provide student affairs professionals with a greater awareness of the barriers justice-involved/impacted individuals experience in higher education. Additionally, participants will learn terminology used to define these barriers and "humanize" this student population in order to create supportive campus cultures. Regardless of one's role, supporting and creating inclusive models for all student populations is critical to achieving most institutional missions and promoting student success.
By participating in this session, attends will learn about:
- the barriers justice-involved/impacted individuals encounter during postsecondary education;
- the advocacy work organizations such as the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) have conducted; and
- promising practices and partnerships some institutions have developed to support justice-involved/impacted individuals.