Collins readies bill banning funds for inmate college courses

The Buffalo News

Collins readies bill banning funds for inmate college courses

WASHINGTON – With New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposing that the state offer college courses to convicts in state prisons, Rep. Chris Collins plans to do what little he can to try to stop it.

Collins, R-Clarence, said Thursday that he will introduce a bill in Congress that would prohibit the use of federal funds to pay for college courses for prison inmates.

If passed, the bill would mean that the state would have to rely on its own funds to fulfill the governor’s plan rather than using the money it gets from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons for educational and other programs at state prisons.

“The governor’s latest plan to fund college educations for convicted criminals with New Yorkers’ tax dollars is an insult to law-abiding citizens all across our state,” Collins said. “We hear over and over again from politicians concerned about the growing cost of higher education and the amount of student debt our young people are sacked with after earning their degree. Strangely, many of these same politicians think tax dollars should be spent to give convicted criminals a free college degree.”

Collins said he plans to introduce the bill in the coming days. In addition, he said that as the House moves forward on its appropriations process for the year, he will attempt to attach a rider to spending bills that would bar the use of federal funds on college courses for inmates.

Collins’ bill would not ban states from using federal dollars to support high-school diploma equivalency or work training programs in correctional facilities.

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