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NYS expands college course offerings at some state prisons

New York State is planning to expand opportunities for college courses in some state prisons. Governor Andrew Cuomo and Manhattan D-A Cyrus Vance say $7.3 million will provide college-level education and training for  more than 2,500 prisoners across the state.

The money comes from large bank settlements secured by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. 

Among the programs in this region will be classes at the Albion Correctional facility, provided by Medaille College and Five Points Correctional Facility, with services provided by Cornell University.

The program is being overseen by SUNY and CUNY, the City University of New York, and Michael Jacobson, who is executive director of the CUNY Institute for state and local governance, says these additional college courses are a good investment in society overall.

“The research is in on this, so the more education people leave with, the lower recidivism rates they have. The lower recidivism rates, people in communities all over are just safer, you’ll pay less tax dollars to corrections," Jacobson told WXXI News.

Cuomo says that currently most college education programs at state prison facilities are privately funded, and those classes carry long wait times and there are often problems standardizing the classes.

It's hoped the new program will improve the operation of these programs.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.