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Letters: Debate rages over college in prison

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference in the Red Room at the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Albany, N.Y. Credit: AP / Mike Groll

If education in prison not only changes the life of the prisoners, but cuts crime and saves taxpayers money, it sounds like a good deal ["Prison college program faces growing criticism," News, Feb. 19].

However, many people understandably resent seeing those who have broken the law get a free education. One solution might be to have inmates sign a contract to pay for part of the cost of their education beginning five or 10 years after their release.

Everyone would still benefit, and the inmates would have taken responsibility for some of the cost.

Bonnie Friedman, Central Islip


Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wants to spend taxpayer money so inmates can earn college degrees while incarcerated.

That's what we need -- more college-educated people without jobs. In a survey of recent college graduates last spring, more than 40 percent said they were underemployed and needed more training. The number of college graduates working minimum- wage jobs is nearly 71 percent higher than it was a decade ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, Cuomo wants us to "invest" $5,000 of tax money on top of the $60,000 already spent on prisoners so they can become college grads. This is insane!

If we are going to teach prisoners something, let them learn a trade. We need steamfitters, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and other tradesmen; we do not need someone with a degree in the liberal arts.

If we are spending taxpayer funds, it should be spent on skills for which jobs would be more readily available and where there is a need.

Terence Kane, Long Beach


The governor wants to expand free college degrees for prisoners. Does anyone else find this remarkable? I should have told my children not to work, and to go rob a bank. Instead of paying $40,000 per year for college, they could have gotten a free degree.

John Natale, Long Beach


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