NYS CoRR Platform Message

NYS Coalition for Rehabilitation and Reentry

Education for Employability

Poor education and crime are tightly linked.  Many of the incarcerated persons have been afflicted with poverty, racism, family dysfunction, or other handicaps, often contributing to failure in traditional education in poor city schools.

Keeping imprisoned citizens in a non-productive, dependent state promotes recidivism and undermines the economy of the nation. Decent work for a decent living makes men and women and reduces recidivism; it is the goal and the right of all citizens.

Hence, corrective, job-oriented education of incarcerated persons, from literacy to post secondary education, must be a key part of correctional services in New York State.

     1. Read, Take Pieces, & Edit the following Message: 
(or write your own)

Economic self-sufficiency of those released is a pre-requisite to reducing crime and subsequent government expense. Job-oriented education/training is the foundation of any solution to this problem. In today’s work environment, that usually means secondary and post-secondary, vocational education/training.

Productive work, the work ethic, and the sense of personal value that come with adequate vocational training/education are important parts of the total rehabilitation process, providing a base for overcoming diverse addictions, and the transformation of criminals into law-abiding taxpayers.

We can:

Reduce Recidivism:
Texas data compiled over a four-year period revealed that with two years of college, the recidivism rate drops to 10%, and with four years of college, the recidivism rate drops to 5%, compared with a recidivism rate of 60% for those receiving no additional education while incarcerated. (Kemp Study, in conjunction with Texas Southern University’s Earl Carl Institute for Legal and Social Policy Inc., 2003).

Reduce Cost: In 1990, the State Auditor’s Office estimated that the state of Texas saved 6.6 million dollars for every one-percent reduction in recidivism.

Correct a Bad Mistake: A November 2005 report by The Institute for Higher Education Policy revealed that over 85,000 incarcerated persons were enrolled in college courses in U.S. prisons in 2003-2004. (mostly college-based vocational courses). Among these states, two-thirds received at least half their funding from state appropriations.

However, in 1994, NYS forbad the use of TAP grants for any post secondary education for persons who are incarcerated in state prisons. This serious mistake can and should be remedied.


  • Direct SUNY administration to 1) conduct an in-depth study of educational needs of incarcerated persons, including literacy, special education, vocational education, GED programs, and post secondary education; 2) produce inmate-oriented curriculum guides in each area; and 3) offer instructional services, from all SUNY facilities, to selected prison facilities, in areas of greatest promise.
  • Authorize a comprehensive study, under DOCS direction, of the distance learning services now becoming widely available; and evaluate the technical, economic, and security feasibility of using diverse forms of distance learning for the education of incarcerated persons.
  • Again allow NYS TAP grants for post-secondary education of incarcerated persons.  TAP grants should at least be available to incarcerated persons who are enrolled in job-skill-oriented post secondary educational programs (specifically intended to promote employability upon release), including up to 2 years of post-secondary remedial education, vocation-oriented certificate-programs, or other primarily vocation-oriented programs, possibly leading to an Associates Degree.

    Consider still other means of NYS funding for job-oriented post secondary education for incarcerated persons.
  • Increase cooperation with NYS Dept. of Labor and NYS trade unions, for 1) design and certification of vocational training and apprenticeship programs in prisons, 2) networking with prospective employers, and 3) educating employers on incentives for hiring formerly incarcerated persons.
  •  Increase pre-release job preparation and job placement services.
  • Increase investments in the education of incarcerated persons, in accord with the above, and with particular attention to special education and advanced vocational education.
  • Consider using one or more correctional facilities as honor facilities offering college courses, personal transformation courses, family reunion and intensive family counseling, and job preparation.
  • Make it illegal for colleges to ban the applications of formerly incarcerated individuals solely because of their incarceration.

Supplementary considerations:

The NYS Commission on Sentencing Reform, in its October 15, 2007 report, states "...the Commission believes that DOCS should provide more educational opportunities for offenders who have completed their high school education or obtained a GED. While obtaining a GED will realize modest reductions in recidivism, post-secondary educational programs have been shown to reduce recidivism by approximately 40%."

Through a partnership with the Correctional Education Association, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and the Milwaukee Area Technical College, TLN provides college credit-bearing courses to subscribing facilities via satellite. This partnership is offering courses leading to an Associate of Arts Degree to many correctional facilities nationwide via satellite.  It's only one example of a cost effective way of using distance learning to prepare inmates for jobs that require technical skills



    2. Send Your Email or Postal Message  to your NYS District Legislators
and to some of the following:

Denise O'Donnell, infoDCJS@dcjs.state.ny.us
DOCS Commissioner Brian Fischer ..
Parole Director George Alexander ...
Parole Exec. Director Felix Rosa ...

Senate: Crime Victims, Crime & Corrections Comm.

  Michael Nozzolio,     nozzolio@senate.state.ny.us
  Dale Volker   volker@senate.state.ny.us
  James Wright  wright@senate.state.ny.us
  George Maziarz    maziarz@senate.state.ny.us
  Eric Adams  eadams@senate.state.ny.us
  Carl Kruger  kruger@senate.state.ny.us
  V. Montgomery   montgome@senate.state.ny.us

Senate Codes Committee
  Dean Skelos  skelos@senate.state.ny.us
  Stephen Saland  saland@senate.state.ny.us
  Serphin Maltese  maltese@senate.state.ny.us
  John DeFrancisco  jdefranc@senate.state.ny.us
  Eric Schneiderman  schneide@senate.state.ny.us
  Thomas Duane    duane@senate.state.ny.us
  John Sampson sampson@senate.state.ny.us

Senate Higher Education Committee
Kenneth LaValle    lavalle@senate.state.ny.us
  James Seward  seward@senate.state.ny.us
  Mary Lou Rath  rath@senate.state.ny.us
  John Flanagan  flanagan@senate.state.ny.us
  Toby Ann Stavisky  stavisky@senate.state.ny.us
  Suzi Oppenheimer  oppenhei@senate.state.ny.us

Senate Education Committee
Stephan Saland  saland@senate.state.ny.us
  Kenneth LaValle  Lavalle@senate.state.ny.us
  James Seward  seward@senate.state.ny.us   
  Carl Marcellino marcelli@senate.state.ny.us
  Charles Fuschillo fuschill@
  Thomas Morahan morahan@
  Martin Golden golden@
  Suzi Oppenheimer  oppenhei@
  Velmanette Montgomery
  Toby Stavisky' stavisky@
  Eric Schneiderman  schneide@
Assembly Corrections Committee
  Jeffrion Aubry  aubryj@assembly.state.ny.us
  Harvey Weisenberg  weisenh@assembly.state.ny.us
  Keith Wright  wrightk@assembly.state.ny.us
  Feliz Ortiz ortizf@assembly.state.ny.us
  Tom O'Mara  omarat@assembly.state.ny.us

Assembly Codes Committee
  Joseph Lentol   lentolj@assembly.state.ny.us
  Robin Schimminger   schimmr@assembly.state.ny.us
  Mark Weprin  weprinm@assembly.state.ny.us 
  James Brennan  brennaj@assembly.state.ny.us
  David Townsend     townsed@assembly.state.ny.us 

Assembly Higher Education Committee
Ronald Canestrari  canestr@assembly.state.ny.us 
   Audrey Pheffer  pheffea@assembly.state.ny.us
   Richard Gottfried  gottfrr@assembly.state.ny.us
   Joseph Morelle  morellj@assembly.state.ny.us
   Joel Miller   millerj@assembly.state.ny.us
   James Conte  contej@assembly.state.ny.us
   Marc Butler  butlerm@assembly.state.ny.us

Assembly Education Committee
Catherine Nolan nolanc@
  Aurelia Greene  greenea@
  James Brennan brennaj@
  Barbara Clark clarkb@
  Robert Sweeney  sweeney@
  Paul Tonko tonkop@
  William Parment  parmenw@
  Susan John  johns@
  Steven Engelbright  engles@
  Carmen Arroyo  arroyoc@
  Fred Thiele  thielef@
  David McDonough  mcdonod@
  Joel Miller  millerj@





A summary of all 12 planks can be found at Summary

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