Griffo Opposes Free College Education for Inmates

UTICA – Sen. Joseph A. Griffo today reiterated his opposition to state prisoners receiving “extreme amenities,” which includes Gov. Cuomo’s proposal to use state funds to educate prisoners at no cost to the recipient.

“Prison is supposed to be a punishment for wrongdoing, not a Club Med where your family can visit anytime and your health issues and education are taken care of at zero cost,” said Griffo, R-Rome. “I have opposed measures that provide perks to prisoners – some of which ordinary New Yorkers don’t even receive – and will continue to do so in the future.”

Griffo is a supporter of four bills aimed at making prison less attractive to criminals:

  • S1894: Requires inmates in state and county-owned/operated correctional facilities to make a $7 medical co-payment for any treatment, except psychiatric visits.
  • S1903: Allows the head of a correctional institution to charge state and local taxes on sales of items at commissaries and canteens.
  • S4488: Enhances the definition of dangerous contraband to include guns, knives, cell phones, laptop computers with GPS capabilities, maps, cameras and explosives.
  • S5413: Ends the conjugal visit program and prohibits the establishment of any new program designed to provide inmates and their families the opportunity to meet privately for an extended period of time.

“Parents ask me all the time how the state can make college more affordable. They believe in the power of an education, but are clearly struggling to find the money to send their child to school,” said Griffo. “It’s an affront to those people, who have not run afoul of the law, to ask them to continue struggling while we give a college education away for free to prisoners.”

Griffo urged his constituents who agree that the state should not provide a taxpayer-funded education to inmates to sign his petition here.

“The taxpayers need to send a clear message to the governor and supporters of this initiative that this is not how they want their hard earned money being spent,” said Griffo. “I hope my constituents will sign this petition, which will give me the support I need to convince my fellow legislators to drop this ill-conceived idea.”