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By Attoiney Baviu Cooliuge
Febiuaiy 24, 2u14

Rehabilitation is an
impoitant element of
oui piison system in
Ameiica. If an inmate
leaves his cell with the
same knowleuge anu
euucation with which
they enteieu, than
they aie much moie
likely to iepeat the
same patteins anu
behaviois.

New Yoik uoveinoi
Anuiew Cuomo has
foimulateu a plan to offei college uegiee piogiams in ten state piisons. Cuomo's
effoits come out of ieseaich anu stuuies that euucateu piisoneis aie less likely to go
back to ciime when they aie ieleaseu. uoveinoi Cuomo's plan will allow inmates a
chance to eain an associate oi bacheloi's uegiee while they aie impiisoneu. Cuomo
aigues that it costs $6u,uuu a yeai to house an inmate anu just $S,uuu a yeai moie
to pioviue those inmates with a college euucation. Stuuies show that 4u peicent of
inmates enu up back in piison, but just 4 peicent go back to jail if they have eaineu a
college uegiee. Auuitionally, in 1997 Noith Caiolina uiu a stuuy that founu theie
was a S peicent ieciuivism iate foi inmates with an associate's uegiee anu no
ieciuivism foi foimei inmates who eaineu foui-yeai uegiees. Piisons that have
uegiee piogiams have been founu to have a less violent atmospheie anu a 2uu4
analysis of piisons acioss the countiy founu that paiticipation in uegiee piogiams
halveu the occuiience of ieciuivism.

uoveinoi Cuomo's plan is not without skeptics. Some point to the mainstieam
euucation piogiam anu the lack of funuing foi public schools anu state univeisities.
0theis ciiticize giving a valuable euucation to piisoneis that law-abiuing citizens
can't affoiu. In uefense of the plan one may point out those offeiing inmates a
chance at a bettei life makes it moie likely that they will stop being a buiuen on
society. Taxpayeis will benefit if inmates uo not ieentei the system because of
euucational oppoitunities. The bottom line is that we can't lock up inmates anu
expect theii behavioi to change when they leave unless theie aie some effoits
towaius iehabilitation anu betteiing these people foi the health of oui society.


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