St. Lawrence County legislative chairman calls on governor to drop inmate education proposal
Friday, February 21, 2014 - 2:47 pm

St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators Chairman Jonathan Putney wants Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to reconsider spending tax dollars on educating prisoners.

“I would hope that the governor’s office would withdraw its proposal to offer a college education to inmates,” he said in issued statement.

The proposal announced earlier this week by the governor said reeducating imamates would help slow the “revolving door,” in which he said prisoners are highly likely to reoffend after they are released.

Putney said he believes Cuomo’s heart was in the right place, but said tax dollars should be spent on struggling school districts first.

“While it may have been a well-intended proposal to save money by reducing the rate of re-incarceration, many people in the North Country, including myself see things differently. Many North Country residents would prefer to see those funds allocated to our local school systems which have been operating on significantly lower levels of state aid,” he said. “The reality is that our resources are scarce and an investment in our youth will be far more effective and appropriate.”

Putney said he plans to put a resolution opposing the governor’s proposal opposing the expenditure of taxpayer funds to provide inmates with a college education at the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators Finance Committee meeting on Monday.

“I am certain my fellow legislators will join me in asking the Governor's office to abandon this proposal.”

The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the County chambers.