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NY to fund college courses at 17 state prisons

More than $7 million in funding will go toward teaching college courses to inmates at 17 New York state prisons, including Albion Correctional Facility. (MGN Online photo)

Albany, N.Y. (WHAM) - More than $7 million in funding will go toward teaching college courses to inmates at 17 New York state prisons, including Albion Correctional Facility.

An award of $7.3 million was announced Monday by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance to fund the College-in-Prison Reentry Program over the next five years.

The program creates more than 2,500 seats for college-level education and training for inmates. The aim of the program is to increase the chances of successful reentry into the community and cut back on recidivism rates.

"Prison isn't just about serving time for ones crimes. It's an opportunity to help those who have made mistakes rehabilitate and rebuild their lives," Governor Cuomo said. "This program not only strengthens the futures of incarcerated individuals and their communities alike, but it will save taxpayer dollars in the long run."

Courses at the Albion correctional facility will have curricula from Medaille College.

The measure will be paid for using criminal asset forfeitures.

"It makes no sense to send someone to prison with no pathway for them to succeed when they get out," said District Attorney Vance.

A 2013 study found that people who participate in prison education programs are 43 percent less likely to recidivate and return to prison.

Most college education programs at state prison facilities are privately funded and have long wait lists. Inmates can earn an Associate's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, or industry-recognized certificate.

In order to qualify, inmates can have no more than five years remaining on their prison sentence.

More information about the program can be found here.

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