From Gannett’s Ashley Hupfl:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to allow prisoners to take college courses is receiving pushback from at least one upstate Republican.
The initiative will select 10 prisons to offer associate’s and bachelor’s degrees through a selection process and will begin to accept applications March 3.
On Monday, Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, released a statement opposing the statewide initiative.
“I support rehabilitation and reduced recidivism, but not on the taxpayer’s dime when so many individuals and families in New York are struggling to meet the ever-rising costs of higher education,” Grisanti said in a statement. “I am fighting to restore the availability of graduate-level Tuition Assistance Program funds for middle class taxpayers that was previously eliminated, and I will continue to fight for its reinstatement before I even begin to entertain the idea of supporting this program.”
Cuomo announced the plan during a speech at a church service Sunday as part of the state Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislator’s annual conference.
The program will cost about $5,000 for one inmate to receive a year of college classes, according to Cuomo’s office. Colleges, the state and private sector would fund the program. There are currently about 54,200 prisoners in the state, the lowest in more than two decades, Cuomo said.