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Key facts overlooked on educating inmates

In his March 13 Another Voice, William J. Morgan Jr. declares that in these hard economic times, the last thing to consider is state-funded college programs for prison inmates. Further, he would not want any law-abiding students competing for jobs against former inmates who obtained their qualifications while incarcerated at the taxpayers’ expense.

His views raise several issues. First, the economics: Substantial incarceration costs will be eliminated if helping inmates earn qualifications reduces recidivism.

Second, is it a fear that a highly capable person may, through education, find a better lifestyle and win a job competing against a law-abiding student of lesser ability? Would this be wrong?

Third, it is staggering to imply that all criminals have willingly made crime their lifestyle choice, and consequently deserve little sympathy, even suggesting convicted criminals who have paid their dues to society remain dishonest people.

Fourth, the suggestion that state and private educational institutions volunteer their services has merit, but his column does not indicate willingness to lead the charge.

Fifth, it is gratifying that Morgan knows what the governor has not considered. Such insight is a remarkable ability envied by us lesser mortals.

Surely, the study of criminal justice must embrace redemption, a word conspicuous by its absence. As a key part of the learning process, the best educators welcome students who challenge their views. Sometimes this leads to correcting misconceptions. Let’s hope they do. Let’s hope they succeed!

Nigel H.K. Armstrong

Williamsville