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.
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