Higher education opportunities in Florida’s prisons are hard to come by. Today, only around 326 students are enrolled in college programs in Florida prisons, according to data provided by colleges. That’s only a tiny fraction of the more than 80,000 people incarcerated in the state. Ten sites offer college programs, including one reentry center and a privately run prison. The Florida Department of Corrections oversees 128 correctional facilities.
Former Republican state Sen. Jeff Brandes, who founded the Florida Policy Project think tank after he left office in 2022, said that all options should be on the table when it comes to expanding education in prison. “The goal for prisons is to improve public safety,” he said. “When you give people a way to get an education inside, it’s a better outcome for when they go home.”