The 21st-century 20-something

Monday, February 24, 2014

Go to prison, get a free education? Not cool, Cuomo.

Governor Cuomo announced the other day that he is planning to launch an initiative to provide college classes to inmates in the NYS prison system.

Before I go any further, I would like to say that I do understand the general idea behind this plan. Educate prisoners, and they're less likely to become repeat offenders. In theory, the intent is admirable and in an ideal world, this would benefit society greatly in the end.

With that said, I would also like to say that this is one of the most asinine things I have ever heard in my entire life.

Not only is it insulting to those of us who chose to get an education and are on our own to pay for it, but now what is the motivation going to be for the upcoming generation? Go to college and be thousands of dollars in debt for the better part of your life, or go to prison and get to go to college for free? It doesn't take an educated person to see where the imbalance is here.

As a society, I thought we were generally against rewarding criminal behavior? If we want to make these people productive members of society - invest that money is some educational DVDs on trade skills like plumbing, auto mechanics or construction. It is not the taxpayers responsibility to make sure people don't get out of prison, act like asshats, and get thrown back in. Sorry about your luck. 

Investing an estimated $5,000 per year, PER INMATE, in free college education is so wrong for so many reasons.

First of all, if you have that kind of extra money, Gov. Cuomo, how about you kick some of that back to those of us that went to college and ARE productive members of society? Sounds like a better idea than wagering state funds on education for prisoners so you can, what, cross your fingers and hope for the best?

Also, let's be very honest here. Ex-convicts have a very hard time finding jobs. That's why on every single job application you will ever fill out, it asks if you've been convicted of a felony. Do you really think that when they find out you took college classes in prison it's going to negate the fact that you held up some lady at the 7-11 for $12 in cash and a fake gold bracelet? Probably not.

As I said, in theory, this would work great. But I truly believe you'll be hard pressed to find employers that will pay more mind to how you did in your PRISON college classes, than the crime that got you there in the first place.

This is why I think it would be more beneficial to train inmates in trade skills, or give them some sort of entrepreneurial guidance. They would have a much greater chance of success that way.

And again, I don't mean to sound like the typical selfish millennial, but I think it is outrageously unfair and insulting to have time to come up with funds to educate prisoners, instead of finding some way to help recent college grads trim their very serious debt. Which they accrued by making what is generally considered a good decision. And, ya know, not ending up in prison.

What do you think of Cuomo's new proposal?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So true

February 24, 2014 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger Tenesha Curtis said...

There are very few programs floating around that have actually proven themselves to save money AND be effective at keeping people out of prison at the same time. Educating prisoners has the numbers to prove that it works. I don't think that Cuomo is trying to reward people for going to prison, he's simply trying to decrease the number of people on the streets committing criminal acts. I, too, would like there to be fewer people breaking into houses, shooting one another, or holding up 7-11s in the nation. So, why not arm the people who do that with alternative behaviors and concrete skills to help them move in a different direction in their lives? Most of the people who end up in prison are there because they never had the skills, knowledge, encouragement, and/ or support to push them towards going to college (and accruing debt, possibly). Yes, that money could be put towards easing our financial burdens, but the money that would be saved by implementing this proposal could also be used for that same purpose, effectively killing two birds with one stone: Keeping as much as 64.5% of people released from prison from getting arrested again, and aiding those who have current student debt.

Great post! I'll be sending people this way!

March 13, 2014 at 3:56 PM  

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