Cuomo Proposes Free College Education for Inmates

February 17, 2014 Updated Feb 17, 2014 at 1:23 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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February 17, 2014 Updated Feb 17, 2014 at 1:23 PM EDT

BUFFALO (WKBW) At a church service near Albany on Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his newest project, a plan to provide a college education to criminals at ten prisons across the state.

"We're imprisoning, we're isolating, but we're not rehabilitating the way we should. We're not correcting the way we should, we're not improving the way we should. We are starting a negative cycle that begets a negative cycle," Cuomo said.

The goal is to cut down on criminals who end up going back to prison multiple times.

"It would cut down on the recitivism because it gives them a goal. It gives them something on their plate instead of having a lot of idle time," prisoner mentor Leonard Betts said.

Betts works with criminals both in and out of jail through Group Ministries of Buffalo, and is already an advocate for the Governor's plan.

"What we want to do is to keep them from being in the same position that they're stealing our cars or our credit cards, doing things that is going to hurt the public in the long run. It gives them another direction," Betts added.

But those opposed to Cuomo's idea, like State Senator Mark Grisanti, focus on the cost to the taxpayer.

"To me, it's just wrong. And I oppose it. That money should be used for those doing law abiding work," Grisanti said.