Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a new statewide initiative to give incarcerated individuals the opportunity to earn a college degree by funding college classes in prisons across New York. Studies have shown that investing in college education for prisoners dramatically decreased recidivism rates while saving tax dollars on incarceration costs. Those who earn a college degree while in prison are less likely to end up behind bars again, thus decreasing the number of inmates in New York prisons.

The initiative would provide college-level education at 10 New York prisons, one in each region of the state. The program would offer both associate and bachelor’s degrees. Degrees would take generally two and a half to three years to achieve. The state will be issuing a Request for Proposal starting March 3 that will solicit responses from educational associations to provide college professors and classes in an accredited program in order for inmates to earn their degrees.