New York prisoners may get free college education

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus Weekend church service at the Wilborn Temple on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus Weekend church service at the Wilborn Temple on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

A 3-year prison sentence for boosting cars may soon boost some prisoners’ careers.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing free college courses be offered to inmates in 10 prisons.

Cuomo says it costs taxpayers about $60,000 per year to incarcerate a prisoner, and a college education would add about $5,000 more per year.

According to Cuomo, it will save the state money to educate prisoners because those who get a college education while behind bars will be less likely to return to prison.

It would be even cheaper to not have prisons at all.

Cuomo, in a presentation to the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, said 40 percent of released prisoners without college degrees return to prison at some point. Those who earn college degrees through a current, privately-funded program return only 4 percent of the time, the governor said.

Since imprisoned students have more time to study and take tests, prisoners will be able to earn a bachelor’s degree in less than three years, said Cuomo.

“The college experience in prison really just enables the prisoner an opportunity to educate themselves … so that upon release they have a viable chance in competing with those who are already out here fighting for the very limited jobs that are available,” said Anthony Cardenales, who served 17 years for homicide and earned his bachelor’s degree in the privately-funded program and now gets quoted in newspapers.

This all sounds great for prisoners. I’m not so sure about taxpayers, many of whom never committed a crime and earned a college degree the old fashioned way and now will have to compete with college-educated prisoners for the “very limited” jobs.

Cuomo did not immediately specify if fraternities and sororities would be allowed on prison campuses.

More news sprung from the Interwebs:

73 comments Add your comment

Good-Idea

February 17th, 2014
9:10 am

I think this is a GREAT IDEA…since most prisoners are black do you actually think WHITE America will go for this…..I don’t think so…..

Nina

February 17th, 2014
9:15 am

OMG…did they really just say: Puerto Ricans and Hispanics??? why not say Costa Ricans, Mexicans, Hondurans, Columbians, Venezuelans..etc..really?? Puerto Ricans and Hispanics?? they’re HISPANICS…smh

Nina

February 17th, 2014
9:17 am

it’s like saying “the doctor looked at my thumb and my hand” or ” lets feel the homeless and those with nowhere to go” It must’ve been a Puerto Rican who wrote this article to give themselves their own little “group”…wake up you’re HISPANICS!!!

Voice of Insanity

February 17th, 2014
9:23 am

61% of prisoners incarcerated in Georgia are black and 34% are white. This information was taken directly from the Georgia Department of Corrections website. I have to call ‘true’ for Good-Idea’s statement that most prisoners are black for the state of Georgia.

wrestler

February 17th, 2014
9:24 am

Where do I sign up…free college degrees and all I go to do is break the law……that is for me…..

Nina

February 17th, 2014
9:27 am

this is a stupid proposition in the retarded state of NEW YORK not Georgia….and I meant “feed” the homeless not “feel”…

George Mathis

February 17th, 2014
9:31 am

Tired Taxpayer

February 17th, 2014
9:34 am

So, wait a minute…I did everything I was supposed to do for 18 years…went to college, graduated, got a job and now am paying back student loans when all I had to do was be a criminal and get an education for FREE! What the heck was I thinking???

joe

February 17th, 2014
9:38 am

Here’s a better idea…let those loony lib movie, TV and music stars who live in NY fund this…I’m for it, as long as no federal tax dollars are used. Let them add another tax to those who live in NY who already pay over 50% in taxes. Suckers…

Old Physics Teacher

February 17th, 2014
9:51 am

I hate to be the voice of sanity here, BUT…there are two EFFECTS in force here… you know, like CAUSE and EFFECT? The CAUSE of these people being in prison is that each one of these people are in jail beCAUSE they believe laws have no EFFECT on them. In short, they’re LAW BREAKERS. 1) Teaching these people will enable them to break laws better and give them a greater chance of getting away with the crime!

Also, another FACT is that most of the people in prisons do not have a high school diploma. A high school diploma is so easy that you almost can find one in a bag of Cracker Jacks. This implies that most of the people in prison are essentially uneducated – period. 2) Even if, and that’s a great stretch, you could get the law passed, the chance… and it’s is an incredibly small chance… that anyone of these guys could understand what a college professor was saying does not equate with the enormous costs nor risks to society.

This idiocy is all due to the fallacy of the idiotic statement, “To get a good job, you need a good education.” WRONG!!! You need to be SMART and HARD-WORKING to get a good job. You do not look for smart and hard-working people in jail. That’s where you find the dumb people who think there are short-cuts to success.

LBJr

February 17th, 2014
9:52 am

P.S. Wallace

February 17th, 2014
10:07 am

The four precent recidivism rate may not be due to the degree per se, but because someone willing to go take the time to do this while incarcerated might not be likely to go back to prison anyway. We need to see the larger numbers. Is it 4% of 1%, or 4% of 50%?

The fairness issue vis a vis those remaining faithful to the laws and yet who are paying for their own education is a valid one and one that simply must be addressed, lest the already shaky legitimacy of the social compact be eroded even further. In particular, in my opinion, those who volunteered for the military to get the GI Bill and went into harm’s way should look askance upon this. I simply don’t think this thing can be free and fair–even if done by Pell Grants (too many law-abiding kids whose parents cut them off or won’t supoort them for college and yet who can’t qualify for financial aid because of their parents).

Bernie31

February 17th, 2014
10:16 am

What a Novel idea and plan. I Salute the Governor for making such a Brave and Courageous move. Best of Luck to him and the inmates.

cgatlanta

February 17th, 2014
10:18 am

Have them pay (back) for the education when they’re out and working.

Next problem I can solve?

joe

February 17th, 2014
10:21 am

@ CG– Global warming

MoFaux

February 17th, 2014
10:22 am

It’s very simple: IF this reduces overall spending, then it’s worth it to taxpayers. You have to let go of the emotional argument and look at the numbers (let NY be the guinea pig). Also, remember that checkbox on job applications for felonies and of course background checks. Even with a degree, there is no level playing field for ex-cons…as their should be. But, this is at least better than doing nothing. The ultimate goal of our prison system should be to reform our criminals to be productive members of society, not just keep them locked up forever and be burdens to taxpayers. This of course is not always possible, but for many it is, hence the 40% rate cited in the article.

Sweet Deal

February 17th, 2014
10:39 am

So can i do somet time and get my $100K in student loans paid off…. This world is turning in to trash…

ABC

February 17th, 2014
10:44 am

You know, I’m pretty liberal, but this grates me. People that never committed crimes are graduating with crushing student debt that will take them decades to pay off…but criminals are getting it for free???? Nice..

who

February 17th, 2014
10:54 am

And what’s the sample size for the study?

Once you’ve been incarcerated you can get 50 degrees while in jail but you’ve still got the huge hurdle of being able to pass a background check to be eligible better job opportunities…

OriginalProf

February 17th, 2014
10:58 am

Gov. Cuomo is proposing free college COURSES for inmates, not a free college education (which would require many courses). Many universities already have departmental programs in which the faculty volunteer to teach courses in prison. I think this is a fine idea.

The Geezer

February 17th, 2014
11:00 am

A very high percentage of the people who commit crimes and go to prison for a very long time have antisocial personality disorders and regardless of their level of education they will continue to misbehave and will return to prison.

Only a small percentage of prisoners commit crime for economic reasons. I think vocational education courses and training would help these prisoners to support themselves on the outside so they do not return to prison. So coursework and training in plumbing. heating and air conditioning systems, electrical, carpentry, long haul truck driving, etc. would be a great idea. If they had received this type of education in the first place they may not have ended up in prison.

The key is to run the program responsibly knowing the antisocial personality disorder prisoners will never benefit society from further education so the money spent on them would be wasted. But the prisoners who broke the law due to socio economic conditions will benefit society. Be great to get those prisoners out of prison, on company payrolls, and paying taxes like the rest of us.

RickInGrayson

February 17th, 2014
11:08 am

joe February 17th, 2014 10:21 am

@ CG– Global warming
===============
Joe, that would be Climate Change since we had such a cold winter this year and it doesn’t fit the parameters of the Democrat’s talking points!

RickInGrayson

February 17th, 2014
11:11 am

One of the problems I have with this scenario is the inmate serving time for HOMICIDE getting a chance to get a college education. Take someone’s life and then get benefits from the state?

NOPE

February 17th, 2014
11:14 am

H TO THE NO! I’m working full time and also attending school in the evenings. I’m also a veteran but we all know that doesn’t really mean anything anymore unless the news station wants a feel good story. So to make them do right we pay for these fools get a free muckin truckin ride? Nope. Not a good thing to do. Maybe make it tougher for those in jail so they won’t do the wrong thing to go back there. Stop paying for cable and hot meals. Put their a(s)ses to work and they will think twice. Right now it’s just a vacation spot for criminals. If I have to bust my butt to do better then they should too.

Andy

February 17th, 2014
11:24 am

Why give them an education when they won’t be able to get a job because they are convicted felons?

RickinWarnerRobins

February 17th, 2014
11:37 am

Another liberal Democrat gone crazy. Where will it end…how much lower can Democrats go? I’m positive they’ll go lower and it won’t stop until the entire country is bankrupt except for the rich Dems.

jerry gardner

February 17th, 2014
11:40 am

Criminal Justice degrees.

cgatlanta

February 17th, 2014
11:46 am

Climate change- we are too small a force to change nature. The earth and universe will exist without regard to mankind. All we can do is live as peacefully and comfortably as possible.

Class of '98

February 17th, 2014
11:47 am

Like any good Democrat politician, he’s just pandering to his audience.

If there weren’t cameras in the room to document it, Cuomo would have said he wants to give all minorities a no-strings-attached check for $5k every month.

And all this humble public servant asks for in return is their votes. Imagine that.

Gary

February 17th, 2014
11:53 am

Let me guess . . . one of the degrees will be criminal justice.

Don't Tread

February 17th, 2014
11:57 am

Somehow I don’t think a “free” college degree will fix a broken or nonexistent moral compass.

Democrats are stuck on giving away “free” things at taxpayer expense to people who don’t deserve them. It’s the only way they get re-elected.

Love_Hate

February 17th, 2014
12:04 pm

This is a lot better than locking someone up and housing them in a cage with the (hope) of rehabilitation. This current situation of locking someone up and throwing away the key don’t work. Never have and never will. I don’t understand why some people can’t understand this. We need more rehabilitation programs instead of warehousing people.

Narnie

February 17th, 2014
12:08 pm

Key phrase in this is “college degrees through a current, privately-funded program”. Keep it that way!

Narnie

February 17th, 2014
12:08 pm

Key phrase in this is “college degrees through a current, privately-funded program”. Keep it that way! There is accountability!

P.S. Wallace

February 17th, 2014
12:29 pm

“I’m also a veteran but we all know that doesn’t really mean anything anymore unless the news station wants a feel good story.”

Basically, concur. I certainly do not think it means much to those in charge of the culture–academia, entertainment. If they honor it, it is because others expect it to be honored, not because of any innate drive of their own.

As to the incarcerated–loans with long-term payoff is fine. I do cringe at the idea of a con-artist getting a MBA though. Talk about prison being a place to learn how to even better steal….

Fred ™

February 17th, 2014
12:42 pm

Sweet Deal

February 17th, 2014
10:39 am

So can i do somet time and get my $100K in student loans paid off…. This world is turning in to trash…

Wow, with your lack of ability to think critically, I would say you got ripped off. Was that a for profit institution that sold you your useless degree?

Jane

February 17th, 2014
12:43 pm

This is absurd !!! Let’s pay for prisoners education now on our tax dollars !! I remember when Wendy was a working prison,paying taxes,providing food for themselves and the community..now that land and expensive farm equipment lays dorment..why ?? Is it benieth them to work for a living ? This is just too much..My family,and many others could not even begin toafford college….lets give it free to criminals..WAKE UP !!!

Fred ™

February 17th, 2014
12:45 pm

Democrats are stuck on giving away “free” things at taxpayer expense to people who don’t deserve them. It’s the only way they get re-elected.

And here we have another talk radio FOXBOT incapable of forming an intelligent thought, only able to parrot bumper sticker phrases. Yo moron, convicted felons can’t usually vote, but don’t let any FACTS get in the way of your talk radio FOXBOT programming.

Jim

February 17th, 2014
12:57 pm

I’m headed to NY to steal a car so I can afford my education at Ga Tech. Hopefully I can do it remotely online, or at least via correspondence. Maybe if I steal an expensive car I can somehow make grad school too :)

Brace4impactz

February 17th, 2014
1:01 pm

All cannot be salvaged or rehabilitated, however those who can should be given a chance to become productive taxpaying members of our society. I hope the proposed curriculum will include technical and trade skill opportunities.

Bumper

February 17th, 2014
1:02 pm

“Those who earn college degrees…return only 4 percent of the time”

I’m generally not a fan of social engineering programs but if that statistic is accurate then this one is probably worthwhile.

That inmate who takes college courses which result in him turning his life around might otherwise be the inmate who would rob/kill you after he is released.

P.S. Wallace

February 17th, 2014
1:05 pm

Thinking about it some more, here would be what I would offer as a compromise:

Now, I am not as well acquainted with what inmate life in prison is, or chances once on the outside, as perhaps, say, the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus that the Governor addressed, because I really don’t know anyone in my social circle so affected by incarceration, *but*…to me the point may hinge on whether or not the state is paying for GED instructors in prisons, something I think no one has a problem with. If so, there is an opening here, that might get rid of some very practical problems–completion rate, cost of college, and fairness to the law abiding.

It can be presumed that if the education is free far more will sign up than actually complete the course, which I presume also happens with prison high school courses (it certainly happens with normal college students who have actually paid). There is no need to waste money on this. On the other hand, the marginal cost of an extra student is probably pretty low, if you have already hired the instructor who will teach the class whether there are two students or twenty.

As to college cost, if you hire your instructors directly at an adjunct rate, or however full-time GED instructors are hired (if they are–once again, I don’t know as much about prison life as others), then you should be able to keep costs down–because many education programs are cash-cows. There is a lot that can be cut out. Accreditation and standards would have to be resolved–perhaps a church would like to take this on, as churches once started colleges.

As to fairness–if you are a prisoner, and take the course, and complete it–*and* wish credit and the degree–then you take out a loan upon release, with a non-payment period for a few years, in recognition that you might not rocket to prosperity immediately. Otherwise, if you do not wish to sign that loan, your transcript gets shredded and the course was simply something that hopefully improved your mind, but that you will receive nothing for–besides the knowledge. The same goes double for those not completing courses–they had their chance.

Don't Tread

February 17th, 2014
1:12 pm

“And here we have another talk radio FOXBOT incapable of forming an intelligent thought”

And here we have another liberal that can’t stand it when someone gets information from sources liberals don’t control. It’s called free speech and freedom of the press. Get over it.

And of course, your only rebuttal is third grade name-calling, as usual. Now go ask your mommy for a cookie.

Knowledge is Power

February 17th, 2014
1:15 pm

The leading causes of incarceration for African American males
1.The leading cause of incarceration of an African American male is a non-violent drug offense. http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/node/64 1.Between 1985 and 1995 the American prison population of drug offenders increased from 38,900 to 224,900 with African American males at the top (King 166).

2.Person crimes
3.Property crimes

It’s a known fact that the prison terms for crack (mostly Black) users were sometimes 3, 4 and 5 times of that for Cocaine users (mostly White users).

You need to understand the reason why African Americans are incarcerated at higher rates that Whites.

You need to understand why the unemployement rate among African Americans is much higher that White Americans…….

I don’t think providing a College Degree to prisoners (Black or White) is the answer…

We need to determine why they are their in the first place. and how can we prevent them from returning (develop some programs to assist) .

Wow…….

leo

February 17th, 2014
1:20 pm

typical reward the criminals democrats

leo

February 17th, 2014
1:21 pm

democrats area disease

Knowledge is Power

February 17th, 2014
1:32 pm

@ leo

Wow…..

Hey leo…who created the Presidential Pardon?

REPUBS Brother…………………Knowledge is Power….READ RIF (Reading is Fundemental). :)

Don't Tread

February 17th, 2014
1:44 pm

“We need to determine why they are their [sic] in the first place. and how can we prevent them from returning (develop some programs to assist).”

The first one is easy. They are THERE because they don’t have a moral compass (i.e. bad parenting), and decided to go commit crimes instead of making an honest living.

Keeping them from returning is easy and inexpensive also, but not politically correct. We’ll leave it to you as far as developing a politically correct solution to a broken moral compass. Good luck with that.

Jack ®

February 17th, 2014
1:47 pm

Rob a Waffle House, go to prison and get a degree. Then you’ll be smart enough to buy your own Waffle House.

Kamchak ~ Thug From The Steppes

February 17th, 2014
1:50 pm

…politically correct., …politically correct…

Polly want a cracker?

Just askin’.