When it comes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest effort to reduce recidivism, Jim Tedisco is the one who knocks.
Mr. Tedisco, an upstate Republican assemblyman, today released a statement hitting Mr. Cuomo’s plan to begin funding college courses for inmates. Somewhat unusually, the statement repeatedly referenced the hit methamphetamine-dealer drama Breaking Bad.
“Tedisco: Governor ‘Breaking Bad,'” declared the release, which went on to raise the possibility that the program could turn New Yorkers like the fictional Jesse Pinkman character–an affable, low-level criminal–into Walter White-esque drug kingpin masterminds.
“This is definitely ‘Breaking Bad’ by potentially turning a bunch of Jesse Pinkmans into Walter Whites – all on the taxpayer’s dime,” said Mr. Tedisco. “Soon we will be the only state where honesty and hard work are trumped by being a bad criminal. Only in New York. When can New Yorkers wake up from this nightmare?”
Other Republican lawmakers have also rallied in opposition to Mr. Cuomo’s plan, which was unveiled last Sunday in Albany.
Mr. Cuomo’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but the governor has argued the education investment will pay for itself by helping former prisoners reintegrate and preventing them from committing future crimes. “Giving men and women in prison the opportunity to earn a college degree costs our state less and benefits our society more,” Mr. Cuomo said Sunday.
A supporter of the plan, Brooklyn Assemblyman Karim Camara, also lashed out at the critics this afternoon.
“It’s time to get out of the dark ages. What’s next, bring back debtor’s prisons?” Mr. Camara asked in a statement. “The Governor has put forth a common sense plan that will not only help keep recidivism down but will save the State money in the long-run. Since education is a proven way to help keep prisoners from returning to jail, I have to ask: why would anybody oppose this?”
View Mr. Tedisco’s full statement below:
“We’re a compassionate state and believe that people deserve second chances after they’ve served their time but it shouldn’t come at the expense of honest, hard-working, law-abiding taxpayers who, in many instances, can’t afford to pay their property taxes and send their own children to college.”
“Students are mortgaging a lifetime of debt to pay for college loans yet the governor thinks criminals should get free college tuition. Rewarding criminal behavior with free college education reinforces their actions and makes them smarter criminals.”
“This is definitely ‘Breaking Bad’ by potentially turning a bunch of Jesse Pinkmans into Walter Whites – all on the taxpayer’s dime.”
“Soon we will be the only state where honesty and hard work are trumped by being a bad criminal. Only in New York. When can New Yorkers wake up from this nightmare?”