CARS HOMES JOBS

Tuition for prisoners simply an outrageous idea

Friday, May 9, 2014
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Rachel Winney
Rachel Winney

On February 16th, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his plan for New York State to start funding college tuition for inmates. Each prisoner would be receiving $5,000 a year for their education. I think that is an outrageous idea! Those who actually work hard in their high school years, by studying for tests trying to get good grades in order to attend college will be getting the same education as those who choose a life that landed them in jail. The sad part is that the people who worked their whole life to get into college and afford college have to pay while the inmates don’t!

Tax dollars being spent on people who have paved their own road to bad choices, which lead to arrest, is simply not fair. Think about it, you are given the choice to not do work, and just go out and have a “good time” knowing you could still get the same education as those in their rooms studying on a Friday night; who would do their work? The answer is no one would. In 2012, people spent about 15% of their disposable income on paying student loans back. How is it fair for those people who are working and have never been arrested to pay for their education while the people who have been arrested get it for free?

It’s ridiculous that the taxpayers of New York will have to fund college tuition for these jailbirds while some can’t even afford to put their own children through college. Each year, New York State spends $3.6 billion on inmates. Now Cuomo is talking about adding another $5,000 per prisoner. $60,000 is already spent on each prisoner annually. It is irrational to spend the extra $5,000 on top of that.

College isn’t the answer for everyone; it may help, but not others. It isn’t going to solve crime and wrongdoings. Why should the hard-working citizens who abide by the law pay for education of those who broke the rules, knowing the consequences? Why is it those people’s obligation to pay for a free ride for criminals while they are working multiple jobs to be able to pay off their own student loans?

It’s not right to make the taxpayers of New York to do something like that. If prisoners want to change their life around and head in the correct direction, they should have to work for it like everyone else has had to do and grow up. Why make it easy for them when no one has made it easy for the rest of us? People can’t hold their hands forever and feed them with a golden spoon, because they are going to have to learn how to live in the real world sometime. In the real world, no one helps you through. You get to where you are by working for it.

What happens when these criminals are put through college at the taxpayer’s expense and they end up back in jail? Does this mean our taxpayer’s dollars spent on trying to turn them around is wasted? The answer is yes. What the governor should be concerned about are those who try hard, getting good grades, but can’t afford to put themselves through college.

It is very stereotypical to say those who go to college won’t end up in jail, because you see it all the time. The truth of the matter is college isn’t going to change the morals and ethics of people. The way they want to live their life might not be changed by a diploma; and college isn’t going to stop someone from robbing a bank or doing drugs — so why waste tax money on it?

 
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