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Letter: Educating inmates is wise use of money

Educating inmates is wise use of money

I found myself nodding in agreement with Bob Butler’s My View piece of Sept. 25, on his experience teaching inmates of New York State correctional facilities. I taught undergrad biology and environmental science for a few years at Collins and Wende, a pleasant and rewarding experience for a teacher. Almost nowhere else would you find a class as attentive, friendly and hardworking as I found here, no matter what learning difficulties some of them might have had.

I soon became convinced of the wisdom of spending a little government money on educating this segment of society and hoping for a good outcome rather than blindly shelling out $50,000 a year for its upkeep. Granted, the inmates who find their way to the classroom are not the worst of the prison population.

I ran into one of my former inmate-students one day on the NFTA Metro. When I first spotted him across the aisle looking at me and whispering to the young woman he was with, I nervously struggled to remember what grade I had given him, and finally recalled, with some misgiving, that it had been a D. I tried to avoid his gaze, but as luck would have it we were all getting off at the same stop – Medaille College. He introduced me to his friend and we had an amiable conversation. I noted books under his arm and asked about them. “Enrolled at Medaille,” he answered, “headed to class.” And it all seemed good.

Kevin H. Siepel


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