The program is being overseen by SUNY and CUNY, the City University of NY, and Michael Jacobson, who is executive director of the CUNY Institute for state and local governance, says these additional college courses are a good investment in society overall.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Manhattan D-A Cyrus Vance say $7.3 million will provide college-level education and training for more than 2,500 prisoners across the state.
The money will fund classes provided by a mix of SUNY and private colleges at correctional facilities across the state, including Coxsackie Correctional Facility in Greene County. The senator said providing free courses to inmates is unfair to law-abiding citizens who have to pay for a college education. Ritchie said in a statement.
To qualify for the new program, inmates must have no more than five years remaining on their prison sentence.
New York University will provide educational services to inmates at Wallkill Correctional Facility.
According to the announcement issued by the Governor's office, the College-in-Prison Reentry Program is being funded through the Manhattan District Attorney's Office's Criminal Justice Investment Initiative.
"Refusing to make this investment wouldn't simply ignore our responsibility to help rehabilitate those who may have made mistakes in their past, but it would ignore our responsibility to the taxpayers as well", he said.
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.
The office's initiative, dubbed the College-in-Prison Reentry Program, will increase the number of inmates receiving educations by 500 to 600 per year.