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Politics and Government

Cuomo plans more education for prisoners; says he'll close more state prisons

Gov. Cuomo spoke about reforming the criminal justice system at a church in Harlem Sunday

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will move to close more state correctional facilities. He made the announcement on Sunday while addressing a church congregation in Harlem.

"I'm going to go down in the history books as the governor who closed the most prisons in the history of the state of New York and I am proud of it," Cuomo told parishioners at Mt. Neboh Baptist Church. "I want to close more prisons with more alternatives to incarceration."

During his time in office, Cuomo has already closed 13 state prisons.

Sunday's announcement also included a plan to pay for more college education for inmates. Two years ago, Cuomo proposed restoring state-funded college classes in prisons, but the idea was shot down by the Republican-controlled state Senate.  

In the governor's plan now, more than $7 million for the program will come from a criminal forfeiture fund  that can be spent without the legislature's approval.

"We have colleagues in Albany who aren’t ready to do that and don't want to pay for those programs.  So you can tell me no. I just find another way to get there, that's all," Cuomo said. 

In recent days, Cuomo has been unveiling proposals that he hopes to implement over the next year.