New York State Senator Mark J. Grisanti (R,I - Buffalo) announced today that he has launched an online petition to gather public opposition to a recent proposal by Governor Andrew Cuomo to give taxpayer-subsidized college classes to inmates at 10 state prisons.
The petition, "Say 'NO' To Free College For Prisoners", went live today.
"I have received numerous phone calls, emails, and Facebook messages related to this initiative, and the overwhelming percentage of them are negative," said Grisanti. "People in our state want their voices heard. I plan to gather the names of people from Western New York and across this state who sign this petition against giving free college to prisoners in order to show Governor Cuomo and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Albany that there is significant opposition to utilizing the tax dollars of hardworking New Yorkers in such a manner."
Individuals interested in signing the petition may visit www.SenatorMarkGrisanti.com and click on the link for the petition. There is also a link on Senator Grisanti's Facebook page.
Governor Cuomo announced that the initiative will cost $5,000 per year per inmate. There are currently approximately 54,500 inmates housed in state prisons.
"I support rehabilitation and reduced recidivism, but not on the taxpayer's dime when so many individuals and families in New York are struggling to meet the ever-rising costs of higher education," said Grisanti.
Grisanti stated that he is continuing to fight to restore Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funds that had previously been cut for graduate students.
"I am fighting to restore the availability of graduate-level TAP funds for middle class taxpayers," said Grisanti. "I believe that we should put the needs of hardworking, law-abiding citizens who are positively contributing to society first, and I will continue to fight for the reinstatement of TAP funds before I even begin to entertain the idea of supporting this program."