senate Bill S3350

Establishes the commission on post-secondary correctional education

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 01 / Feb / 2013
    • REFERRED TO FINANCE
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO FINANCE

Summary

Establishes the commission on post-secondary correctional education to examine, evalute, and make recommendations concerning the availability effectiveness and need for expansion of post-secondary education in the NYS prison system.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A4109
Versions:
S3350
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Finance
Law Section:
Commissions
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S974, A3657
2009-2010: A8552, S5685, A8552

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S3350

TITLE OF BILL: An act to establish a commission on post-secondary
correctional education; and providing for the repeal of such provisions
upon expiration thereof

PURPOSE: This bill establishes a commission to study and make recommen-
dations to the legislature and the governor regarding the availability
and effectiveness of post-secondary correctional education programs in
Prison. SUE' MARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill contains legislative findings that demonstrates
the need for a commission on post-secondary correctional education and
includes relevant statistical information.

Section 2 of the bill establishes the commission to be known as the New
York State Commission on Post-secondary Correctional Education. The
commission will consider a number of issues including the benefits of
post-secondary correctional education, the impact of post-secondary
correctional education on the offender recidivism and prison safety and
security, and recommendations about the need, if any, to expand postse-
condary education programs in prison.

Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the bill provide for the manner of appointments
to the commission and specifics about the commission's operational
structure.

Section 6 of the bill requires the commission to make a report to the
governor and the legislature no later than one year after the effective
date.

Section 7 is the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: Studies have consistently found that the higher the
level of education attained, the more likely a former inmate will be to
obtain gainful and stable employment and the less likely he or she will
be to engage in future criminal activity. However, in 1994, federal
tuition assistance, in the form of Pell Grants, for individuals incar-
cerated in federal and state correctional facilities was terminated with
the enactment of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.
Then, in 1995, New York prohibited inmates from accessing state funds
through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for post-secondary correc-
tional education.

According to a report published by the correctional Association of New
York in January, 2009, entitled "Education From the Inside, Out; The
Multiple Benefits of College programs in prison," only four Out of
seventy post-secondary correctional education programs continued to
operate in New York following the termination of TAP availability for
inmates.

The benefits of post-secondary correctional educational have been well
documented. Most recently, the New York State Commission on sentencing
Reform recently reported that post-secondary correctional education
Programs have been shown to reduce recidivism by up to 40% and the
commission recommended that more post-secondary educational opportu-
nities be made available to inmates.

However, identifying the resource (both private and public) necessary to
expand post-secondary education in prison is challenging, particularly
in this tough economic time. Therefore, the commission established by
this bill would be tasked with examining the existing poet-secondary
educational opportunities in prison documenting the benefits of such
programs and making recommendations for possible expansion.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: Senate 2009-10: S.5685 - Referred to Finance

Assembly 2009-10: A.8552 (Aubry) - Referred to Ways and Means

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act will take effect immediately and be repealed
one year after such effective date.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  3350

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            February 1, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  HASSELL-THOMPSON,  MONTGOMERY, PARKER, SAMPSON --
  read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to  be  committed  to
  the Committee on Finance

AN  ACT  to establish a commission on post-secondary correctional educa-
  tion; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon  expiration
  thereof

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Legislative findings and intent. The legislature finds that
the availability of post-secondary correctional education has the poten-
tial to reduce recidivism, increase employment opportunities for inmates
upon release and have a positive impact on prison safety  and  security.
The  legislature  further finds that there is currently a lack of avail-
able post-secondary educational opportunities for  inmates  in  the  New
York state prison system.
  Studies have consistently found that the higher the level of education
attained,  the more likely a former inmate will be to obtain gainful and
stable employment, and the less likely he or she will be  to  engage  in
future  criminal activity. However, in 1994, federal tuition assistance,
in the form of Pell Grants, for individuals incarcerated in federal  and
state  correctional  facilities was terminated with the enactment of the
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Then, in 1995,  New  York
prohibited  inmates  from  accessing  state  funds  through  the Tuition
Assistance Program  (TAP)  for  post-secondary  correctional  education.
According  to  a report published by the Correctional Association of New
York in January, 2009, entitled "Education From  the  Inside,  Out:  The
Multiple  Benefits  of  College  Programs  in  Prison," only four out of
seventy post-secondary  correctional  education  programs  continued  to
operate  in  New  York following the termination of TAP availability for
inmates.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD05949-01-3

S. 3350                             2

  According to the Correctional Association of New York report,  statis-
tical  evidence  from  several highly regarded studies demonstrates that
college programming in prison is a highly  effective  tool  in  reducing
recidivism.  For  example, the report cites a 1991 study released by New
York's department of correctional services that found inmates who earned
a  degree  while incarcerated had a 26.4 percent recidivism rate whereas
44.6 percent of participants who did not earn a degree were returned  to
custody.  The report cites another influential study, published in 2004,
"Post-Secondary Correctional Education and Recidivism:  A  Meta-Analysis
of Research Conducted 1990-1999," that found inmates who participated in
post-secondary correctional education programs recidivated 22 percent of
the  time  and those who did not participate had a recidivism rate of 41
percent. Further, the New York state  commission  on  sentencing  reform
recently  reported  that  post-secondary correctional education programs
have been shown to reduce recidivism by up to  40%  and  the  commission
recommended  that  more post-secondary educational opportunities be made
available to inmates.
  The Correctional Association of New  York  report  also  asserts  that
in-prison  college  programs  are  a  cost-effective method of improving
public safety. The report states that "the cost differences in education
versus incarceration in New York, plus the short- and long-term benefits
of a better educated population, makes investment  in  higher  education
for  incarcerated  individuals  and people in the community smart fiscal
policy." The report cites one cost-benefit analysis that found the  cost
to a state per crime prevented by offering education to inmates is about
$1,600  while the cost per crime prevented by extending prison sentences
is $2,800. In other words, according to the study, a $1 million  invest-
ment  in  incarceration  will  prevent about 350 crimes, while that same
investment in education will prevent more than 600 crimes  meaning  that
correctional  education  may be almost twice as cost effective as incar-
ceration.
  In addition, research suggests that post-secondary programs in  prison
can  provide  inmates  with  an  incentive for good behavior and greatly
enhance an inmate's problem-solving skills thereby reducing tension  and
violent  interactions  between  inmates  and  staff  and  among inmates.
Reportedly, inmates who attend post-secondary  educational  classes  are
among  the  best-behaved  of  the  inmate  population because there is a
strong incentive to avoid conduct that could result in discipline and  a
loss of credit for the college program.
  Despite  the  potential benefits of post-secondary correctional educa-
tion programs, only a relatively  small  number  of  programs  currently
operate  in  the  New  York  state prisons funded mostly through private
sources, federal grants for youth offenders or through small legislative
initiative grants.
  S 2. A temporary state commission, to be known as the New  York  state
commission   on   post-secondary   correctional  education,  hereinafter
referred to as the commission, is hereby created to  examine,  evaluate,
and  make recommendations concerning the availability, effectiveness and
need for expansion of post-secondary education in  the  New  York  state
prison  system.  The  issues  to  be  considered by the commission shall
include, but not be limited to, the following:
  a. the benefits of post-secondary correctional education in  improving
public safety by reducing recidivism;
  b.  the impact of post-secondary correctional education on an inmate's
employment opportunities upon release from prison;

S. 3350                             3

  c. the impact of post-secondary correctional education on an  inmate's
reintegration into society upon release from prison;
  d.  the  cost  savings, if any, associated with reduced recidivism and
the successful reintegration of released inmates who  have  participated
in post-secondary correctional education;
  e. the impact of post-secondary correctional education on prison safe-
ty and security;
  f. the need, if any, to expand post-secondary correctional educational
programs  in  the  New York state prison system and the costs associated
with such an expansion; and
  g. recommendations for funding options, including but not  limited  to
the  Tuition  Assistance Program, to increase that availability of post-
secondary correctional education in the New York state prison system.
  S 3. The commission shall consist of fifteen members, to be  appointed
as  follows:  four  members shall be appointed by the governor and shall
include the commissioner of the department of correctional services, and
one member each from the division of parole, the  division  of  criminal
justice services and the New York state higher education services corpo-
ration;  six members, with three appointments by the temporary president
of the senate and three by the speaker of the assembly, shall be  repre-
sentatives  of private providers of post-secondary education services in
New York state prisons, criminal justice advocates, and academic profes-
sionals; one member shall be appointed by the  minority  leader  of  the
senate;  and one member shall be appointed by the minority leader of the
assembly. The remaining members shall be the chancellor, or his  or  her
designee,  of the city university of New York, the chancellor, or his or
her designee, of the state university of New York and  the  commissioner
of the state department of education. The commission shall be co-chaired
by the commissioner of the state department of correctional services and
the  commissioner  of the state department of education. The vice-chair-
person of the commission shall be a representative of one of the private
providers of post-secondary  education  services  as  appointed  by  the
chairpersons.  Vacancies  in  the  membership of the commission shall be
filled in the manner provided for original appointments.
  S 4. The members of the commission shall receive no  compensation  for
their services, but shall be allowed their actual and necessary expenses
incurred  in  the  performance of their duties hereunder. To the maximum
extent feasible, the commission shall be entitled to request and receive
and shall utilize and be provided with such facilities,  resources,  and
data  of  any court, department, division, board, bureau, commission, or
agency of the state or any political subdivision  thereof  as  it  deems
necessary or desirable to carry out properly its powers and duties here-
under.
  S  5.  For the accomplishment of its purposes, the commission shall be
authorized and empowered to undertake any studies, inquiries, surveys or
analyses it may deem relevant in cooperation with or by  agreement  with
any  other  public or private agency. The commission shall meet and hold
public hearings or private meetings within or  without  the  state,  and
shall  have  all  the  powers of a legislative committee pursuant to the
legislative law.
  S 6. The commission shall make a report of its findings, including any
recommendations for legislative action as  it  may  deem  necessary  and
appropriate, to the governor, the temporary president of the senate, the
speaker  of  the  assembly,  the  chairperson of the senate committee on
crime victims, crime and correction and the chairperson of the  assembly

S. 3350                             4

committee  on correction no later than one year after the effective date
of this act.
  S  7.  This  act shall take effect immediately and shall expire and be
deemed repealed one year after such effective date;  provided  that  the
appointment  of  members to the New York state commission on post-secon-
dary correctional education shall be completed within sixty days of such
effective date.

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