The Debate Over Tuition for Inmates

Essay by RansfordKHigh School, 12th gradeA, May 2014

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Alexandria Chan and Ransford Kisten

AP Government Debate - Pro Free Tuition for Inmates

Person #1 - Ransford Kisten

Round 1 - Restate question, importance, general reasons for position, emotional reading/quote, emotional appeal.

My partner and I will be arguing for Governor Cuomo's proposed bill to have inmates receive free tuition. So as many of you know, we'll all be heading off to college in a few short months, and we all know how stressful it is to apply to colleges, and then plan with your parents so you can eventually pay for tuition. We see how much effort we put in into school, how much work our parents put in everyday to pay for our tuition, how much time, and effort it has taken us to get this far; and then to see that someone wants to give free tuition to criminals, is appalling and a crime itself.

"How could they do this? Why am I paying taxes for this when it could go to my own children? I might as well have my child rob a bank so he/she can go to college." I and I'm sure most of you felt this way when you first heard of the bill. But, if you take a closer look, like many things, it isn't as it seems.

The bill is trying to lower the rates of inmates returning to prison through education, which by varying estimates, is about 50%. The Bard Prison Initiative, a program designed to educated incarcerated males and females, estimates that education offered to inmates could lower that stat to about 22%. Fewer than 2% of those in the Bard Prison Initiative return to crime. Out of all the industrialized nations, we have the most in prison and the most returning to prison.

We all...