Tonawanda News — Cuomo is right: Educating prisoners makes sense both fiscally and morally.
Conservatives are right: It isn’t fair to use taxpayer money to reward prison inmates with a perk law-abiding citizens aren’t afforded.
So how about if we found a way to maintain the pragmatic without compromising our sense of right and wrong?
It’s the rare but perfect situation where the government should partner with religious and other private institutions. Why not ask the Catholic church and other groups whether they can provide enough volunteers to teach enough classes to get inmates a two-year associates degree? This already happens on a smaller scale but it could, with a sustained effort, grow to be a larger, more successful initiative.
Inmates should have some skin in the game, too. There should be strict provisions stating poor behavior would see them kicked out of the program and made responsible for paying for what education they’ve received to that point. It would offer a powerful incentive for better behavior and weed out those who aren’t serious about turning their life around.
There are sensible ways government can put in place a framework that empowers people to better themselves without just throwing money at a problem with the idea it will pay dividends eventually.
Like I said, this is an interesting topic because both sides are partially right about it.
When that’s the case, there’s probably a compromise to be had.
It’s a real test for Cuomo’s leadership to see how this whole thing plays out — or whether he’s really more interested in bolstering his liberal resume in preparation for a presidential run.
Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter, @EricRDuVall.