Skip to comments.Cuomo asks state to fund college for prison inmates
Posted on 02/21/2014 2:40:09 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
Two state lawmakers from Queens had mixed reactions this week to news of Gov. Andrew Cuomos initiative that would allow inmates to earn a college degree while serving their prison sentences.
The proposal, announced Feb. 16, would use state dollars to fund college classes in 10 prisons across New York, one in each major region, the governors office said.
The initiative is designed to encourage a lower risk of returning to crime and prison, which Cuomos office said happens 40 percent of the time in New York state after an inmate is released.
Under the new initiative, inmates could earn either an associate or a bachelors degree that would take anywhere between 2 1/2 to three years to complete. One year of college education for one inmate costs around $5,000, the office said, and the state currently spends about $60,000 per year to keep one inmate incarcerated.
By investing in education, Cuomo said the initiative would save the state money in the long run if it is successful because it would keep people out of prison and fewer tax dollars would be spent maintaining a smaller number of inmates.
Giving men and women in prison the opportunity to earn a college degree costs our state less and benefits our society more, Cuomo said. Existing programs show that providing a college education in our prisons is much cheaper for the state and delivers far better results. Someone who leaves prison with a college degree has a real shot at a second lease on life because their education gives them the opportunity to get a job and avoid falling back into a cycle of crime.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) issued a statement in response to Cuomos proposal and cited the Dream Act, whose goal is to give permanent residency to certain qualifying immigrants who graduate from U.S. high schools.
Avella said he does not necessarily disagree with Cuomos initiative, but said other ways to provide educational opportunities also need to be revisited.
While I support the concept of the governors proposal and understand that prisoners with college degrees are less likely to commit a crime after their release, I cannot help but ask, What about the Dream Act? Avella said. There are countless individuals and families in New York state whose children are working hard in school but who are unable to afford college tuition. If the state Legislature implements Gov. Cuomos proposal of providing college degrees to prisoners, we must implement the Dream Act and increase funding for college scholarships at the same time so that everyone can get a college education.
Albert Garcia, a spokesman for the governors office, said there is no time line for when the initiative would begin, but he said Cuomo is committed to funding the program and will begin putting it in the state budget to put money behind it.
We spend so much on incarceration, and this is a surefire way to invest in the future, Garcia said. The lower recidivism rates are evidence that these programs really work.
The state will begin issuing requests for proposals March 3 that will allow facilities to apply to be chosen as one of the 10 prisons to be included in the initiative, which Garcia said is already being tested out in a few of New Yorks prisons. He said the forms will look at who could run the programs and how much experience they have in similar projects.
State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Flushing) serves on the Assembly Correction Committee and said she is looking forward to working with Cuomo and other state officials to help reduce recidivism rates.
So all you college students who have done the right thing and are not in prison, go commit a felony so you, too, can get a free college education.
I cannot stomach this vile, fascist dictator.
I’m all for supporting minimum to medium security prisoners with getting their GEDs, and then taking technical courses, such as auto mechanics, welding, computers and such - but only if prisoners provide restitution to their victims once they get employment & only if the state matches private donations.
If we had a different person in office, I’d suggest they join the military and get the student loans forgiven. Maybe under president Cruz.
“Okay, who’ll give them a job commensurate with that degree once they leave prison? Buehler? Buehler? “
There was a Tom Selic movie, I think called “Runaway.” It was set in a future where the bad-*ss bad guys all had advanced degrees. A really good design engineer where I worked got five years for breaking parole. (He’d gone to meet a purported 13 year girl for sex. It was a St. Lucy detective.) I thought, wow, he could become a super-criminal. (He was a loud-mouthed Miami liberal who couldn’t keep his sarcastic mouth shut. In his booking photo it looked like he’d been shaved bald with a piece of broken glass and a baseball bat.)
Will they print a list of the prison sentences that are “awarded” for varying crimes. That way, the prospective “student” could commit the crime that would award the needed incarceration time.
What a deal (/s) FREE room and board and FREE tuition at the same time. Even the clothes you wear and the books you need will be provided.
I guess that a vicious enough crime will carry enough of a sentence to actually pursue a DOCTORATE in whatever.
This is like a G.I. Bill for shut-ins.
So possession of a standard capacity ammunition magazine in New York qualifies one for a free college education! What a great idea for a High School graduation present!
I would be more inclined to fund prison for state politicians.
Don’t know 2DV,,, but,,,(it’s cocktail hour at my place, and I admit I haven’t given this much thought),,,,,but,,,,, if the degrees were limited to useful degrees,,,, no Black Studies, Women’s studies, etc., seems it might not be a bad idea. Engineering, sciences,,, hmmmmm.
Again, most companies don’t hire ex-felons, especially in this economy and for the type of jobs that require a degree. I was in workforce development, HR and recruiting most of my life.
“There was a Tom Selic movie, I think called Runaway.
With Gene Simmons of KISS as the villain? Yeah, one my favorite lost movies alongside the “Last Chase”. I thought the concept of the smart bullet would already be done by now..
Maybe the same people that give all the demonrat politicians jobs?
Nothing like having state funded well educated criminals. Maybe they could have Corzine or Madoff come in and teach some courses.