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Free College for Convicts Proposal is a Terrible Idea

(Feb 25, 2014) I wish I could say that I was shocked at the latest absurd proposal by the Governor to provide prison inmates with a college education at the taxpayers expense… but I’m not shocked at all. This is just another example of how our state continues to move in the wrong direction, morally and fiscally. This is just another example of rewarding those who have done wrong at the expense of those who are trying to do everything right.

We have families struggling to pay their bills while at the same time trying to set aside some money to help send their children to college. Many times, these parents have to take on extra side jobs to accomplish this. Unfortunately, with the ever rising cost of tuition, even these side jobs don’t allow them to pay the whole cost of college so the students end up taking out student loans. By the time the students graduate they receive, not only a diploma, but also a student loan bill that can be as high as 5 or 6 figures. They then spend years working hard, paying taxes and trying to pay down that student loan.

Where is the help for these families and students? What have they done wrong? How can anyone look them in the eye and tell them that while they have done everything right, they will just have to work extra hard to pay for their college degree. Meanwhile, those who have done wrong and have broken the law, will get that same college education…for free? Well, actually, it’s not free. The Governor’s office has estimated the cost of the inmates’ college education to be around $5,000 a year. So who will pay that bill? According to the Governors’ grand plan… those same families that struggled to pay for their children to go to college will pay the bill. Those graduates who are struggling to pay off their student loans will also pay the bill. In fact, every law abiding person in this state that is working and doing the right thing by paying their taxes, will pay the bill for “Convict College”.

The bottom line is this… If the State is going to hand out free college educations, perhaps we should start with deserving students who actually respect and obey the law?


Dean Murray
East Patchogue


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