Education will help reduce recidivism
The uproar over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent proposal to provide college education for prison inmates demonstrates a lack of understanding about the system of mass incarceration that exists in the United States today. A person does not serve a jail term and then return to his prior life. After release, the person still carries the stigma of incarceration, and often the label “felon.” This label prevents the person from finding housing and gainful employment, and strips the person of the right to vote. It is nearly impossible for a felon who has been released from prison to make a decent living and reintegrate himself into society.
This problem affects many people, because our country incarcerates more of its citizens than any other industrialized nation. Cuomo’s proposal is a step in the right direction, but there must be a greater push to reform the prison-industrial complex that has overtaken our nation over the past 35 years. All people deserve dignity and the right to earn a living, and a college education will afford people a greater chance at success in the community after they are released from prison.