As this article from the New York Times notes, providing college education to prisoners is incongruent with the struggle many college students have—who have committed no crime—paying for college.
It is a good argument, but still, Lampstand supports college education programs in prison, and a policy solution might be to tie-in the future jobs college educated prisoners get to public service for a defined period.
For instance, having college educated released prisoners working in programs helping reform other criminals, might be a start.
An excerpt from the New York Times article.
IN February, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced plans to underwrite college classes in 10 state prisons, building on the success of privately funded and widely praised programs like the Bard Prison Initiative. Mr. Cuomo pointed out that inmates who got an education had a much better chance of finding a job and were much less likely to menace their neighbors after release. He noted that the cost — $5,000 per inmate per year — would be a bargain compared with the $60,000 it costs to incarcerate a prisoner for a year.
Mr. Cuomo’s proposal was a baby step: $1 million in a corrections budget of $2.8 billion. It was also a bolt from the blue, announced as an applause line to a receptive audience of minority legislators without any advance work. And when the first, predictable bleats of resistance were heard, the governor dropped the college initiative from his budget.
The punch lines of the opposing politicians (mostly Republicans, but some Democrats) all struck the same theme: How dare the governor offer taxpayer money to educate convicted criminals when decent citizens skimp and borrow to send their kids to college? “It should be ‘do the crime, do the time,’ not ‘do the crime, earn a degree,’ ” said George D. Maziarz, a state senator from western New York. “It is simply beyond belief to give criminals a competitive edge in the job market over law-abiding New Yorkers who forgo college because of the high cost.” In other words, let criminals be criminals.
Retrieved April 10, 2014 from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/10/opinion/college-for-criminals.html?hp&rref=opinion