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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/31/09

In NY State: Law abiding citizens need jobs instead of prisoners obtaining college funds

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Message Mary MacElveen
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Like most mornings, I sip my coffee and devour my Newsday, but upon reading this one article, Advocates seek college funds for prisoners, well I nearly spit it out in total disbelief.  I would like to remind these advocates of our current economic crisis in which law abiding citizens are finding it harder and harder to send their children onto college.  Some cannot even afford to go.  Some must seek work if they can find a job.


What about the laid off workers in NY State who must say to their child, “Sorry, we just cannot afford to send you onto college.”  Imagine their anger in reading this one article that some politicians would rather help prisoners than their own children.  This is simply maddening if you ask me.


I was always brought up thinking that prison was a place for punishment.  Yes, in more prosperous times, we did think of rehabilitating these prisoners so they would become productive members of society.  But, can we afford to spend millions on these programs at this point?  The sound response should be, no we cannot.


In past articles, I have cited how food pantries were going bare and being used by people working two jobs in order to make it.  I think they could use those millions instead of prisoners in order to survive.


Newsday reported, "The Correctional Association of New York, a watchdog agency that pushes for legislative and policy reform in the state correctional system, released a report today extolling the merits of educated prisoners, saying college courses have long-term benefits that can be realized quickly." What I would say to this watch-dog group is that the stimulus bill has not even reached Pres. Obama's desk since it will be discussed and voted on in the senate and any benefits either short or long term must go to those presently unemployed to jumpstart this economy first.


This watch-dog organization even had the gall as to say that this "money should be dedicated despite the economy." Instead of issuing a 23 page report, what they should do is say that to the millions who have lost their jobs and the tens of thousands who the president cited lost their jobs this past week.  The sum they are seeking is between $5 million and $10 million dollars.  While a low sum as opposed to the billions handed out to banking institutions, still the unemployed must come first.


New York City's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg has called for, "huge job cuts in New York City, and remedies to help stop the fiscal bloodletting may range from thousands of layoffs to service cuts to a sales-tax increase," To even think of funding college programs for prisoners is insane at this moment in time.


This is where those who are calling for these programs to educate prisoners must think of those who are law abiding citizens whose needs must come first and foremost by our elected officials here in NY State.


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I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog I have been published by, and I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)
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