Tonawanda News

Columns

February 19, 2014

DUVALL: Middle ground on Cuomo's prison plan

Tonawanda News — I find Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to pay for college degrees for the state’s prison inmates a compelling and incredibly interesting debate.

More than any issue in the news of late I think it defines — fairly on all sides — whether you’re a liberal, a moderate or a conservative.

Before the opinions, the facts: Cuomo, citing a pilot program at a prison near Albany, has proposed paying for inmates to obtain a college degree. The pilot program included 250 inmates. On average, of every 100 inmates in prison who are let free, 40 will find themselves back behind bars again. Of the 250 inmates who studied for college while serving their prison term, the recidivism rate dropped to just 4 percent.

It costs New York taxpayers $60,000 per year to house a single inmate in prison. It costs $5,000 per year to provide them with a college education. 

Cuomo and other liberals argue it’s a smart investment and rightly puts the emphasis back on the corrections part of the Department of Corrections.

Prison time isn’t just punishment for committing a crime. Or at least it shouldn’t be. It should be time spent trying to improve and correct the kind of behavior that warranted the state taking away an individual’s freedom.

After all, it isn’t called the Department of Punishment.

Conservatives are outraged the state would spend money on college degrees for criminals when law-abiding citizens are paying for their own tuition for the same degree.

We’re rewarding bad behavior while ignoring the good apples who are actually contributing to society — and not to mention paying some pretty high taxes to do it.

As is generally the case, the liberal argument is pragmatism rooted in idealism; the conservative argument is righteousness rooted in a sense of individual responsibility. 

There’s a third way.

Text Only
Columns
  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg DUVALL: In defense of the Common Core They've become the two dirtiest words in education, but the Common Core is very much worth defending.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Bits and pieces from out and about Ever since it was restored and opened, the Hotel @ Lafayette in downtown Buffalo has fascinated me. Last Monday, the Preservation Buffalo Niagara offered a tour of the hotel led by developer Rocco Termini.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg ADAMCZYK: Kenmore is a village made of bricks Buffalo and surrounding environs have brick buildings galore, often in the process of repurpose. Whole neighborhoods made of brick await development, redevelopment, gentrification, whatever wand will be waved at them to make them function again. Structures here tend not to be razed; they fall down occasionally but typically simply stand and wait.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • leffler, scott.jpg LEFFLER: Justice is blind -- and deaf and dumb I've always been intrigued by the concept of justice. I say concept because it really seems more theoretical to me than practical. One man's justice is another man's nightmare.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg For Sabres, more suffering is on tap

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Taking down trees 'disheartening' Several readers have questioned the City of Tonawanda's tree removal program. An email to Jenna Koch, who represents the third ward and checks into any query on the city, explained the program.


    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg [Duplicate] ADAMCZYK: Letterman was on my side The announcement that Mr. Letterman is retiring from his groundbreaking television program, sometime in 2015, is already old news, but it gives opportunity to ponder a few truisms about history and modern life.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Leffler Mug 041114 [Duplicate] LEFFLER: 'Need to know' a double-edged sword Inquisitive doesn't begin to describe me. I must know everything. About everything. I hate being in the dark. I guess that's what makes my career choice so very obvious. I think "must know everything" is at the top of most journalists' trait lists.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wallace, Amy BW mug WALLACE: Airplane coverage has gone awry I don't know about you, but I am so sick of the cable news stations' constant coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook
Front page
NDN Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest