“First degree” could take on a whole new meaning within New York’s prisons if a new proposal is approved by the state legislature.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has introduced a plan to allow inmates to earn college degrees while behind bars by taking college-level courses. Cuomo cited multiple studies showing “that investing in college education for prisoners dramatically decreased recidivism rates while saving tax dollars on incarceration costs,” in a statementreleased by his office this week.
It would take an inmate about two-and-a-half years to earn either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in the program, which would be publicly financed. The governor said it’s a very worthwhile investment, because it costs much less to educate an inmate than it does to pay for their repeated visits to prison.
“New York State currently spends $60,000 per year on every prisoner in our system, and those who leave have a 40% chance of ending up back behind bars,” he said.