Thousands upon thousands of New Yorkers are working long hours, cutting back on expenses, and saving every penny to be able to afford a college education for themselves or their children. These New Yorkers know that a college degree is a ticket to career success in today’s workforce. They also know that it doesn’t come cheap.
For our state to demand that taxpayers foot the bill for the college education of prison inmates is a huge slap in the face to those families who are playing by the rules and struggling to make ends meet so they can have a brighter future. These are the New Yorkers who should enjoy greater opportunities to attend college.
I am incensed at this proposal, as are the constituents and taxpayers who have already contacted my office in large numbers. The whole notion of rewarding bad behavior is completely backwards. It should be ‘do the crime, do the time,’ not ‘do the crime, earn a degree.’ It is simply beyond belief to give criminals a competitive edge in the job market over law-abiding New Yorkers who forgo college because of the high cost.
In announcing the prison-to-college proposal, it is worth noting that the administration couldn’t even put a price tag on the scheme. So if the Governor thinks the state can afford this, I have a million and one other ideas for how we can use taxpayer dollars more effectively—starting with economic development, job creation, and tax relief.
My constituents can be assured that I will do all I can to see that this proposal is defeated.