Gov. Cuomo is bringing college classes to New York’s prisons

Stefanie Botelho's picture

During a news conference, Cuomo said this program is an investment in people before problems develop, rather than just paying for the damage after it occurs.

It costs $60,000 a year to incarcerate one person and about $3.6 billion in total costs for prisons, with a 40% chance of an inmate becoming a repeat offender, Wing told CNN.

“Albert Einstein had that famous definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. But for years, my friends, we have been doing the same thing over and over, and we have little to show for it. It’s time we try something new,” Cuomo said at the news conference.

Cuomo’s program is based on a privately funded model started at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, which provided college courses in six maximum and medium security prisons across the state. Some 500 inmates were educated and 250 received degrees, and of those only 4% became repeat offenders. It cost $5,000 a year to fund one college education through the Bard program, according to Cuomo.

“The proof is in the pudding,” said the governor.

But offering a funded college education to incarcerated individuals isn’t exactly “new.”

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