“When incarcerated individuals reenter society, it’s critical we ensure they are prepared and ready to forge a path for themselves and their families,” said Hochul.
The Governor and lawmakers are following the lead of California and other states , which have decided that education is the answer to ending mass incarceration.
Hochul’s plan is also in line with the upcoming Second Chance Pell Grant experiment set to begin in 2022-23. Congress will allow incarcerated people to receive up to $6,495 worth of aid to pursue college degrees while in prison.
“The state prison system has to do a better job at preparing people in prison to re-enter society so that they can lead meaningful lives,’ said Senator Kevin Parker, according to the article.
This legislation, S.5468/A.2530, fights recidivism in New York prisons. The Governor will appoint three people to a nine member board. The Speaker of the Assembly will appoint two, the Minority Leader of the Assembly will appoint one, the temporary President of the Senate will appoint two and the Minority Leader of the Senate will appoint the final one.
Assemblyman Charles Barron added, “This bill speaks to moving the prison industrial complex from punishment to education and eventual liberation of the incarcerated. We must build a society where education is prioritized over incarceration.”
Historically, the recidivism rate across the country has revealed a system that is broken when it comes to rehabilitation. Studies show that the rate of recidivism decreases dramatically the higher the education obtained by an incarcerated individual.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, secondary education programs help lower recidivism. Incarcerated people who obtain their college degrees cut their recidivism rate in half: the higher the degree, the lower the recidivism.