At this time last year, New York state correctional facilities housed 77,227 inmates, resulting in an annual cost of $60,076 – shouldered by taxpayers – per inmate.
Thirty-six percent of the prisoners do not have a high school diploma, compared with 19 percent of those in the general population, and around 40 percent of those released from prison return within three years of getting out – largely due to parole violations.
Some state lawmakers – including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo – prison reform advocates and educators, such as those with the Cornell Prison Education Program, see education as a path away from the revolving door of incarceration. It has the added benefit of making communities safer and healthier, while decreasing the cost of operating the prison system as it currently exists.