$7.3 million for college education and reentry services for New York State prisonsStaff Writer | August 7, 2017
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. announced the award of $7.3 million to fund educational programming and reentry services at 17 New York State prisons over the next five years.
Empire State Over the next five years
It will create more than 2,500 seats for college-level education and training for incarcerated New Yorkers across the state.
This program will significantly increase the likelihood of successful reentry into the community thereby reducing recidivism rates.
Last year, Governor Cuomo unveiled this new college education program as part of a common sense criminal justice reform package through his Right Priorities Initiative.
The new measure was launched through a partnership, as a way to utilize criminal asset forfeitures seized by the Manhattan DA's Office to help fund a major expansion of higher education inside DOCCS prisons.
Providing education in prisons is crucial in preparing that person for a successful reentry into the community, reduce the rate of recidivism, and improve public safety.
A study conducted by The Rand Corporation in 2013found that individuals who participate in prison education programs are 43 percent less likely to recidivate and return to prison, and 13 percent more likely to obtain employment after their release.
Currently, most college education programs at state prison facilities are privately funded. These classes carry long waitlists and standardization across programs is often lacking.
These factors prevent many inmates from making significant progress toward the completion of a degree.
Just over 1,000 incarcerated individuals in New York State presently receive college-level instruction each year.
The College-in-Prison Reentry Program will increase that number by 500-600 per year through a combination of CJII grant and matching funds.
Participants will have the opportunity to receive college-level instruction and earn an Associate's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, or industry-recognized certificate.
To qualify for the Program, incarcerated individuals must have no more than five years remaining on their prison sentence. ■