Should the State Fund College Classes for Prison Inmates?

Governor says funding college education for inmates is a worthy investment; what do you think?

Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new statewide initiative to give incarcerated individuals the opportunity to earn a college degree through funding classes in prisons across New York. 

Cuomo said that studies have shown that investing in college education for prisoners dramatically decreases recidivism rates while saving tax dollars on incarceration costs.

"Giving men and women in prison the opportunity to earn a college degree costs our state less and benefits our society more," Cuomo said. "New York State currently spends $60,000 per year on every prisoner in our system, and those who leave have a 40 percent chance of ending up back behind bars. Existing programs show that providing a college education in our prisons is much cheaper for the state and delivers far better results."

Cuomo said it costs approximately $5,000 per year to provide one year of college education for one inmate.

The inmate college class plan, which would need to be approved by the state legislature, has already faced plenty of opposition, though, some from Cuomo's own party.

“I have to believe that the hard working families who are struggling to send their own children to college will feel betrayed if they see us supporting a plan to fund an education for inmates,” Assemb. Ed Hennessey, D-Medford, said in a statement.

“While the reasoning behind inmates coming out of prison with an education makes a certain kind of sense, we cannot do it with taxpayer money," he said. "It is our children and families who deserve the help. They must come first.”

When Patch asked readers on Facebook if they supported Cuomo's plan, a resounding majority said no.

One reader wrote: "Good families can't send their own children to school, but convicts in prison can get a degree for free? That's ridiculous." 

What's your take? Do you support the state funding college classes for inmates? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 
knee jerk March 12, 2014 at 05:40 PM
Ladydie: You forgot to mention all the sex and free love in prison.
irene bacchi March 24, 2014 at 11:07 AM
Why don't we just promise them a house when they get out of jail, too? Please! While getting an education might benefit some, it's ridiculous that normal, law-abiding people are scratching and scraping and most can't afford to send their children to college yet the government is considering giving prisoners that option . . . THEY'RE IN JAIL BECAUSE THEY BROKE THE LAW! Take care of the people that don't do that first. Give us some breaks to help us send OUR kids to school before considering criminals. How did things get so backward? You're in jail because you're being punished!
Mo Neill March 25, 2014 at 08:35 AM
Irene bacci, lady 69, et al, Yr vengefulness is a very expensive taxation upon a lot of us who can't afford the enormous cost of incarceration. I'm not surprised the Obaba haters will strike out with their unthinking bromides, refusing any common sense effort to lower the tax bill. Prison, jail is mostly a waste of resourses profiting only the vast prison industry who have a lock on supplying food, blankets, sheets, medicine, etc to prison administration. It's big money. If you want to keep people in jail for $60,000 a yr. & design a system to keep them there, or if they get out to make sure they return, then you should be quite satisfied with the present system. We don't need to promise them a house Ms. Stupid, to make sure their time in prison is lengthened at even greater expense. You must be quite wealthy to want to throw away the key just so a prison industry can get richer. Brain dead conservatism is awfully costly. KNEE Jerk off, you are truly a gem! Do you expect men in prison not to have sex? Really? Are you such a moron to believe if there wasn't free love, there would be bought love instead? Get a life!
irene bacchi March 25, 2014 at 09:00 AM
Oh, so anyone who doesn't agree with you is stupid, brain dead and a conservative? By the way, who is Obaba? People are entitled to their own opinions. There are plenty of people - Democrats, too - who would like the opportunity of a college education to be given to the many kids whose parents can't afford it first - kids who have something to offer society - before we worry about the people who can't even abide the law. That makes someone stupid? Can I ask you a question? Were you or one of your loved ones ever incarcerated? I'm wondering where all your anger is coming from.
Mo Neill March 25, 2014 at 10:17 AM
However you try to excuse yr statement, why I'm angry has nothing to do with yr feeble argument or yr inability to offer anything but yr own bellyaching. But, if you want to know, I'm angry you would have us continue spending good money after bad. We have the highest number of people incarcerated in the world! Prison makes enormous cost upon us that education would diminish. Of course, yr kids & any other kids should get free education because its benefits accrue to all of us. Instead we have a congress bought & paid for who make ress who make sure their subsidies and tax breaks continue to benefit them. We could easily afford higher education for everyone if we didn't have to subsidize the private jets, multiple homes, servants, art treasure, tax free accounts in offshore banks, companies, banks, financial instruments, mines, oilfields and myriad investments and foundations. What a con job & you waste time with hatred for prisoners' education.
Brian Gavan March 25, 2014 at 10:31 AM
Mo call your mom and ask her for a hug , you are very angry . I am sure you have noticed that your social life is on a downward spiral, Why, nobody wants to hear the rantings of a sad person. Do you find yourself at gatherings, and you are forcing your opinions down the throats of innocent guests and you look up and the only one left is the poor soul who had never met you before. It may be time to sit back and look at things from both sides and find a logical way to express your opinions without the venom. I think you owe Miss Irene an apology she expressed an opinion that's all. After reading some of your rants from the past I could spend hours criticizing them . But that would be a silly waste of my time . State YOUR OPINION and move on, remember good manners never go out of style. And monkeys don't smell like oranges.
yeahitzme March 25, 2014 at 10:43 AM
Hey...nothing wrong with free tuition for inmates at all...get that check out and sponsor your first inmate's college education! What's the issue? And suggesting prison is a waste of money?? Id like to know where you would place the violent criminals whether murderers rapists or child molesters? Maybe a spare room in your home? Not every inmate is rehabitable! Insulting and blaming others for the law breakers being incarcerated is surely not productive to a solution of crime in this country! Try committing a crime in some of the other countries in the world and see if your punishment invloves a free college education! More like the mercy of their court! Why resent those that work hard and enjoy the fruits of their labor!?! Many have come to the US with nothing and have realized the American dream through responsibilty, hard work and being productive citizens...Free handouts are not the answer! Most dont appreciate what they havent earned themselves!
brookhavenconfucius March 25, 2014 at 11:09 AM
Obama Administration: 'Free' Cell Phones for Prisoners By Bobby Eberle March 25, 2014 7:13 am http://www.gopusa.com/theloft/2014/03/25/obama-administration-free-cell-phones-for-prisoners-2/?subscriber=1 AFTER YOU PLOTZ...HERE THE DOJ SITE... http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/March/14-ag-301.html
irene bacchi March 25, 2014 at 11:17 AM
Thank you, Brian. Mo, state your opinion and stop calling people names just because they don't agree with it. I didn't express hatred of anything; I'm not ranting. I'm sure there's a logical way to do things, unfortunately, I don't think this is one - which is my OPINION. While there are people who have gone down the wrong path and could do well with help and an education, the majority of people in our prisons would probably not because they are so far behind educationally to begin with. Maybe offering a college education to inmates who earn it would be an idea, but enough tax payers' money has gone down the drain trying the various rehabilitation recourses proposed in the past without much result. It's a shame for the few who would benefit, but it's just not a viable solution in my OPINION. I agree with yeahitzme - why don't you spend your time and energy better by setting up a foundation to support prison college if you are so in agreement with that proposition instead of spending it calling people names because they don't feel the same way you do? You're taking my opinion as a personal insult - it's just an opinion!
irene bacchi March 25, 2014 at 11:25 AM
To brookhavenconfucius - thanks for depressing me further. Will it ever end? It's getting to be preposterous!
knee jerk March 25, 2014 at 11:29 AM
Hey MO, my "sex and free love in prison" as an added bonus to incarceration was said tongue in cheek (like who would want to drop the soap in the shower and risk getting raped)? BTW, where are the other two stooges?
Joanna G March 25, 2014 at 11:35 AM
Sigh! This discussion is getting depressing. Look - anyone can get a free phone and it has nothing to do with Obama. Just go to TracFone. You can get the phone for free and you just pay for the minutes. If you read the DOJ site, ex-prisoners can USE a cell phone. It doesn't say they get one for free. They can get one for free anywhere. It's not going to be the latest smart phone. It's going to be a basic cell phone to contact their parole officer, try to get a job and for trying to get help if they need it. No need to make mountains out of mole hills.
knee jerk March 25, 2014 at 12:03 PM
A free phone for inmates? I see nothing wrong with that, as long as it's attached to their ankle.
Brian Gavan March 25, 2014 at 12:51 PM
Joanna G did you mean MO hill
Joanna G March 25, 2014 at 02:56 PM
Brian, I have no idea what a MO hill is - never heard of it. However here is Wikipedia's definition for the phrase I used. "Making a mountain out of a molehill is an idiom referring to over-reactive, histrionic behaviour where a person makes too much of a minor issue. It seems to have come into existence in the 16th century."
Brian Gavan March 25, 2014 at 04:37 PM
Joanna G , MO hill reference was a joke, from earlier in the day the person who scolded you , his name, Mo Neill
knee jerk March 26, 2014 at 09:34 AM
Just a thought: what if the inmate already has a college degree? Do we pay for him/her to get a doctorate?
Lorraine DeVita March 26, 2014 at 10:05 AM
I think I read NYS's "dream act" has been defeated thanks to clearer heads in Albany.. Now all those illegal immigrants and criminals will have to pay for their own education if they chose to go to college just like all of us poor working taxpayers do!! . What a CONCEPT! Paying your own way!!!!
Joanna G March 26, 2014 at 12:45 PM
Better to have a smart population than a dumb one... The New York DREAM Act would allow undocumented students who meet in state tuition requirements to access state financial aid and scholarships for higher education. It would also open 529 tuition savings accounts to all New York youth, and establish a DREAM Fund Commission to raise private funds for a college scholarship program for children of immigrants. The Dream Act is still on the table. Texas, California and New Mexico have already passed similar legislation.
Tony Patrick March 26, 2014 at 01:48 PM
so they give tuition to ex-cons and children of illegals. yet they cut education programs and benifits for returning soldiers who are law abiding american citizens defending it for everyone. why the democrats must go.
Lorraine DeVita March 26, 2014 at 04:25 PM
ANYONE who is here Undocumented or is here because their Parent WALKED, Drove snuck tunneled etc. illegally across the US border and had a baby to receive SS welfare etc. for their NOW lo and behold "American citizen" infant AND themselves in my book belongs in jail and the KID refused citizenship.. They want to be EDUCATED? Then let them do what LEGAL TAXPAYERS do . and every other LEGAL immigrant has done.. ........PAY TUITION!!!!! Their countries btw have schools too.. nothing preventing from going back and getting educated and applying for a work visa ......
Mickey March 26, 2014 at 04:34 PM
Meanwhile, what happens to the low income, hard working BRIGHT students who are American born citizens and worked their butts off for 12 years to get into a good college but who cannot afford the always rising tuition?? They get SHAFTED because the ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT KIDS GET PUSHED TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE! Just because an American kid has a working class mom and dad doesn't mean they can afford tuition any more than an immigrant who is already living OFF OF THAT working class US citizen! OUR COUNTRY IS FAILNG BECAUSE OF THIS KIND OF MENTALITY!
Mickey March 26, 2014 at 04:44 PM
The way this administration treats our Military is DISGUSTING! Shameful that our own government would turn a cold shoulder on our soldiers!! WE HAVE TO turn this around... starting with the midterm elections this year!! We have to gain control over the insanity that is going on in America! WAKE UP PEOPLE before it's too late!
Joanna G March 26, 2014 at 05:48 PM
The GOP has voted TO NOT SUPPORT THE TROOPS at least 7 times. Put the blame where it belongs. H.R. 466 – Wounded Veteran Job Security Act became H. R. 2875. H.R. 1168 -- Veterans Retraining Act H.R. 1171 – Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization H.R. 1172 -- Requiring List on VA Website of Organizations Providing Scholarships for Veterans H.R. 1293 -- Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act of 2009 H.R. 1803 -- Veterans Business Center Act H.R. 2352 – Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act
knee jerk March 26, 2014 at 08:36 PM
Joanna, I'm sure you didn't get that info on Fox News but probably from some liberal outlet.
Mickey March 27, 2014 at 12:16 AM
Republicans have ALWAYS supported our troops and continue to do so today to the best of their ability... as the Liberals have disabled the military in a disrespectful and horrendous way under the leadership of our current "commander in chief" with his MIGHTY PEN! Shameful!
Brian Gavan March 28, 2014 at 04:11 PM
amerpatriot March 29, 2014 at 10:06 AM
Just thought of it. Instead of prison time, we should simply give out college educations. According to Como, this would save the state even more! Say, for a misdemeanor, you could get two years education. For a Class B Felony, you might be eligible for a Master's Degree. The harder you work at crime, the better your degree. Maybe even get a car as well. We could reduce auto theft that way.
Mickey March 29, 2014 at 11:19 AM
amerpatriot! Love your way of thinking!! Just bypass all the crap and give them everything they would get after this admin. is done with them anyway!! Brilliant! I do think they need lodging too... so how about we throw in a cute little house!! Don't want them to have to try to qualify for a mortgage!
Ladydi69126 April 02, 2014 at 07:58 AM
Forget it the Bleeding heart liberals will never get it


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