Albany - (WALK) As convicts pay their debt to society, society should invest in a convict's future, and using tax dollars to help prisoners pursue higher education is a good investment, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The case for expanding educational opportunities for prisoners in New York is a matter of simple arithmetic: It costs taxpayers about $60,000 per year to keep a body behind bars, but just $5,000 to put books in front of a student-inmate, said Cuomo.
New York State has 58 prisons with approximately 54,700 inmates. Cuomo says the state will attempt to offer college-level courses at 10 state penitentiaries.
Supporters of the governor's proposal say education will improve a prisoner's prospects of successful rehabilitation and employment. Critics question using tax dollars to educate convicts while many law-abiding citizens are struggling to pay for higher education.
The governor made his proposal at the annual meeting of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus Sunday in Albany.
Photo: Thomas Fisher R. B. Library