Legislature approves state-funded college program for prison inm - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Legislature approves state-funded college program for prison inmates

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A provision in the state's budget is facing criticism after its approval. A provision in the state's budget is facing criticism after its approval.
OLYMPIA, Wash. -

Is going to prison worth a free college education?

That's a question that has been brought to the table following a new budget proposal that Washington state lawmakers passed Tuesday night.

One of the budget's provisions says the state will support post-secondary education programs for inmates while they're in prison. Previously, inmates paid for the degree programs themselves.

Senator Mike Padden (R) of Spokane Valley says that the provision was the reason he voted against the entire budget.

Talking to KHQ about the proposal, Padden said, "I think it's not a good message that if you commit a crime you may have more of an opportunity to get a college education than somebody who's low income, can't get financial aid, or if they do get financial aid they have to pay it back."

He adds: "What about the victims and taxpayers who also want to get help on their college education?" 

Senator Padden said the provision will last the length of the budget, which is two years. He added that a committee wasn't able to get a full bill on the issue to pass. 

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