John Jay President Jeremy Travis Announced His Support for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Initiative on College Education in State Prisons

Statement by Jeremy Travis, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY

President Jeremy Travis of John Jay College of Criminal Justice today announced his support for the initiative of Governor Andrew Cuomo, released on February 16, to create a college education program in ten state prisons.

“Governor Cuomo should be applauded for advancing smart policy that benefits all of us as taxpayers.  As New Yorkers, we are spending $60,000 per year per inmate to incarcerate thousands of individuals, who overwhelmingly come from — and return to — the most disadvantaged communities of our state. For the past twenty years, with the exception of small private college programs, these inmates have not been able to access a college education. This policy overlooks the clear research findings that a college education reduces the rate of recidivism.  By restoring college education to our prisons, the Governor’s initiative will reduce the rate of return to prison, and thereby save New York taxpayers millions of dollars.  This policy initiative will also create a workforce that is better educated and ready to enter the modern economy.  We look forward to working with the Governor’s office on the implementation of this important program.”

John Jay College of Criminal Justice has been a leader in the movement to restore college programming to the nation’s prisons.  With generous financial support from the David Rockefeller Fund, the Ford Foundation, and funding from the State Assembly, the College launched the Prison-to-College Pipeline (P2CP) in which inmates who are within three years of release from prison are eligible to be take college-level courses offered by faculty of John Jay College at the Otisville prison.  John Jay students also travel to Otisville to participate in seminars with those incarcerated students.  Through a partnership with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, John Jay College and its partner Hostos Community College provide appropriate testing and certification to ensure that the incarcerated students are prepared for college-level, credit-bearing studies.  When they are released from prison, these students are then offered the opportunity to transfer those credits to a CUNY college. 

President Travis, author of “But They All Come Back: Facing the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry” and two speeches on the importance of college education in addressing the opportunities to better prepare incarcerated individuals for their reintegration into society.