New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announced Monday that it will partner with the NY District Attorney’s office to donate $7.3 million to the College-in-Prison Reentry Program.
The program — which runs primarily on donations — currently educates roughly 1,000 state prisoners, but with the new funds, the program will be able to fund another 500 to 600 hundred participants annually, the NY Daily News reported. Seventeen state prisons will receive funding through the Manhattan District Attorney’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative that will go towards providing college-level education and reentry services to prisoners, according to CNY Central.
To be eligible for the program, inmates must have less than five years left on their prison sentence. They can earn an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, or industry-recognized certificate if they meet the requirements.
Cornell University, Mohawk Valley Community College, Jefferson Community College, Bard College, New York University, and Mercy College are a few of the educational institutions that will provide courses, materials, and learning tools for the inmates in the program.
“It makes no sense to send someone to prison with no pathway for them to succeed when they get out,” said District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. in a statement.
“Prison isn’t just about serving time for one’s crimes. It’s an opportunity to help those who have made mistakes rehabilitate and rebuild their lives,” Cuomo also noted in a statement. “This program not only strengthens the futures of incarcerated individuals and their communities alike, but it will save taxpayer dollars in the long run.”
Cuomo originally introduced his education program as part of criminal justice reform package called the “Right Priorities Initiative,” but it wasn’t until this year when he partnered with Vance that the rehabilitative education program was launched.
Inmates who become educated are 43 percent less likely to become repeat offenders of a crime according to a 2013 Rand Corporation study.
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