Should the Taxpayers Have the Government Provide Prisoners with Free College Educations

The New York Times February 16, 2016 opinion page editorial “a College Education for Prisoners” (X) advocates having taxpayers — the government — provide prisoners with free College educations, and (Y) characterizes elected officials who disagree with this New York Times opinion as “know nothings”.

The New York Times editorial board advocates in its editorial opinion providing prisoners with an opportunity to get a college education while they are in prison, with the cost paid for by the government, advocate that position because such individuals believe that by doing so:

(X) that the rate with which those convicts would ultimately commit future crimes and then be returned to prison would be reduced, and

(Y) the expected subsequent future imprisonment cost savings to the government would result in a net financial savings to the government?

One has to wonder, from reading this New York Times editorial do those individuals advocating providing such prisoners with such college education at the expense of the government and the taxpayers:

1. No limitation on type of convict self-improvement expenditure — Believe that there should be no limit to the type of expenses that the government should incur on improving those convicts while they are in prison, as long as each such additional government expenditure to benefit the convict would be exceeded by the dollar amount of the subsequent incarceration savings to the government by reducing the cost of potential future incarcerations of such convicts?

2. Limitation on type of convict self-improvement expenditure — Or should there be a limit on the type of expenses that the government should incur to provide such convicts with self-improvement, even if the cost of such self-improvement would be exceeded by the expected future savings to the taxpayers?

3. Criteria distinguishing permitted from impermissible self-improvement expenditures — If there should be a limit on the type of expenses that the government should be permitted incur to provide convicts with self-improvement when they are in prison, even if the cost of such self-improvement would be exceeded by the expected future savings to the taxpayers, then what express objective criteria should be used to distinguish:

(X) the type of expenditures that should be made for convict self-improvement, and

(Y) the type of expenditures that should not be made for convict self-improvement?

4. Government payment for convict cosmetic surgery — For example, do those individuals who advocate providing prisoners with a college education at government expense, based upon the expectation that the cost of doing so would be exceeded by the subsequent imprisonment government cost savings, also believe that the government should also provide physically unattractive convicts with cosmetic plastic surgery at the government’s expense, if objective independent credible evidence shows that:

(X) very ugly convicts have a significantly higher rate of subsequently committing crimes and then returning to prison after their initial release, because of their inability to get sufficiently gainful employment in competitive comparison with released convicts and others having a a more pleasing physical appearance, and

(Y) the cost of such cosmetic plastic surgery paid for by the government would be expected to be exceeded by the subsequent savings to the government from a consequent subsequent reduction in the likelihood and costs of those individuals being re-incarcerated by their subsequent commission of a crime following their initial release from prison?

The answers to these questions, would be most helpful to those who at present are evaluating what position to take on the public issue questions of:

(X) whether or not the government should expend public monies for the betterment of incarcerated convicted felons and,

(Y) if so, whether or not there should be any limit on the type of such government expenditures, as long as there is a sufficiently reasonable expectation that such expenditures will be more than offset by future government savings, computed on a net present value basis to give consideration to the time value of money.

So far, I have not been able to find answers to these questions. Does anyone have any answers to these questions?

Or are these questions irrelevant to a rational consideration of if, to what extent, and for what purposes, taxpayer money should be permitted to the spent to facilitate the personal improvement of prisoners?

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