State Lawmakers Representing Cortland County Not in Favor of College Degrees for Inmates
Two of the State lawmakers that represent Cortland County in Albany both say they are opposed to Governor Cuomo's plan to offer a college education to inmates in state correctional facilities.
Republican State Senator Jim Seward and Republican Assemblyman Gary Finch have both leveled criticisms against the Governor's plan.
Seward says he hears from families all the time that struggle to put their children through college, he says he can’t imagine telling these hard-working families that while they are working hard to provide those opportunities, that a criminal sitting in a jail cell is being handed a college education.
Seward went on to say he supports rehabilitation and the need to reduce recidivism, but the idea of providing free college educations to prison inmates is a slap in the face to the law-abiding families.
Finch also took the plan to task, particularly the cost involved. Taxpayers would spend $5,000 per inmate per year to provide college level courses . Taxpayers already spend $60,000 a year to house an inmate. There are an estimated 54,500 inmates currently confined in state prisons.
Finch says while college students are graduating with an average student loan debt of more than $25 thousand dollars, inmates would not be required to pay back any of their educational costs upon their re-entry into society.
Cuomo said New York's recidivism rate for incarceration is 40 percent. He said the program would help keep prisoners from returning to jail.