Congressman Collins outraged at Cuomo's free college ride for inmates

Feb 21, 2014

The blow-back continues over Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to give convicts a free college education. As WBFO's Chris Caya reports - legislation will be proposed on Capital Hill to bar Cuomo from funding the program with federal tax dollars.


The bill is being introduced by Congressman Chris Collins.  

"I am outraged at this and I do believe the taxpayers of New York state will also be outraged," said Collins.

Under Cuomo's plan taxpayer dollars would fund college degree programs for convicted criminals in state prisons. A Clarence Republican - Collins says New York is already the highest taxed state in the natio

Inside Erie County Holding Center.
Credit WBFO News file photo


"When hardworking families are accumulating college debt to get their kids through college it's wrong. It means that the governor's priorities are not where they should be...And...I'm going to do what I can with legislation in Washington to make sure at least no federal dollars are used in this way," said Collins.

Supporters say educating convicts so they can get a job when their sentence is up - would keep them from returning to prison. Collins says he's not opposed to the programs already in place.

"It's not so much a general associates degree from a community college, you know that's not where [the jobs are.] The jobs for, I think, these folks are in the trades. And we already have...GED and trade programs. I think that's the education that would serve the public best," said Collins.

Meanwhile State Senator Mark Grisanti's petition opposing Cuomo's prison degree program has now gained over 5,000 signatures.