BORELLI, MALLIOTAKIS DENOUNCE GOVERNOR’S
FREE EDUCATION FOR INMATES PROPOSAL
Sign the Kids b4 Cons Petition HERE
Assemblyman Joe Borelli (R,C,I-South Shore), and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I-Brooklyn, Staten Island), responded today to the recent proposal by Gov. Cuomo to provide free college education to incarcerated men and women of New York State. Although details of the governor’s initiative are vague, the program would use taxpayer dollars to award qualified inmates the opportunity to receive a college degree. Currently, the average cost per year to provide for one inmate is $60,000. Gov. Cuomo has estimated it will cost an additional $5,000 annually per inmate if his college education proposal is passed.
“The problem with the program is not the idea of rehabilitation for convicted felons, the problem is the fundamental inequity of the proposal,” said Borelli. “In today’s society, higher education is critical to achieving success and finding a job. The young adults accepted into college have taken the right steps and made good choices so they have the opportunity to obtain a college degree. Along with these decisions comes the burden of college loans, which many will struggle to pay back. How can we provide a free education for people who have made the wrong choices in life while we let the people who made good choices struggle? If we are to provide a program that benefits prisoners’ assimilation back into society, it should be at the inmate’s cost, not the taxpayers of New York.”
“While I believe the intent of this program has merit and we should do all we can to give people a second chance in life, asking law-abiding taxpaying citizens to foot the bill for convicted criminals’ education would be inappropriate. Similar to the DREAM Act, which would provide tuition assistance to illegal immigrants, this proposal proves that New York state’s priorities are backwards. We should be focusing our efforts on helping the many law-abiding, tax-paying citizens who are struggling to pay their way through school and graduating with insurmountable debt,” said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I- Brooklyn, Staten Island).
The average student in New York State pays anywhere from $42,920 to $163,688 for a 4-year degree, accumulating an average student loan debt of $25,537. Typically, students have loan repayment terms ranging from 10-20 years.
“As we look at inmate college programs, they do not have the massive success rates they claim,” said Borelli. “In 2011, there were roughly 2300 New York State inmates participating, but only 141 degrees obtained; a six percent success rate is not particularly convincing. If advocates of this program are so confident it will transform inmates into productive college-educated citizens, why don’t they simply advocate for the same loan programs that all non-incarcerated citizens use rather than offering a freebie?”
Please join Assembly Members Borelli, Malliotakis, and dozens of their colleagues from around the state in sending a message to the administration that it is more important to help students who have made and continue to make the right choices in life before providing free college tuition to convicted criminals by signing their petition at borelliforassembly.com/kids-before-cons.