New York State to support college education in Prison

Check out the announcement from Governor Andrew Cuomo, made February 16, 2014, to provide college programs (associates and bachelors) in ten New York State facilities. Here is coverage of the announcement from Inside Higher Ed. Federal legislation in 1994 eliminated Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated individuals, and similar New York State legislation in 1995 banned incarcerated individuals from receiving financial assistance for in-prison college programs, including TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) funds. Not surprisingly the number of post-secondary educational programs  in prisons dropped dramatically in New York State and around the country.

Despite the wealth of evidence that post-secondary educational opportunities in prison work to reduce recidivism rates, which saves taxpayer money and benefits communities, support for Cuomo’s plan is being challenged. NYS Senator Tom O’Mara (R) has posted a poll on his website with one question: Do you support Gov. Cuomo’s plan for   NYS to provide a college education to state people in prison?” (Note that you may need to register or refresh the page several times in order to vote.)

Call or e-mail your representatives in the Assembly and the State Senate to let them know that you support the Governor’s effort.
Find the State Assembly Member and State Senator who represents you and let your voice be heard.

For more information:

Changing Minds: The Impact of College in a Maximum-Security Prison. Michelle Fine, Maria Elena Torre, Kathy Boudin, Iris Bowen, Judith Clark, Donna Hylton, Migdalia Martinez, “Missy,” Rosemarie A. Roberts, Pamela Smart, Debora Upegui. 2001.

Education from the Inside Out

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