Pubdate: Wed, 01 May 2002
Source: Post-Standard, The (NY)
Copyright: 2002, Syracuse Post-Standard
Author: Genevieve Lugo


To the Editor:

I'm appalled by the state phasing out subsidies for art supplies and 
educational training behind bars.

I am currently in Oswego County Correctional Facility, awaiting my trip to 
state prison to serve a four-and-a-half-to-nine-year sentence. My crime? 
Selling drugs. I've been here at OCCF for five-and-a-half months and in 
this short time, I have earned three BOCES certificates, two for food 
services and one for plumbing maintenance.

After receiving these certificates, I thought to myself, wow! Imagine what 
a better education I'll have after furthering my skills in prison. I was 
feeling that my chances of making a legal and respectable living after my 
prison term were really looking good - up until now.

What about the criminals who only know about selling drugs, theft or other 
illegal ways to survive? A high school diploma should be available, but why 
stop there? A money-making trade is not taught in high school. A person 
needs further education. To further one's education should not be held back 
from anyone, incarcerated or not.

I agree criminals should not receive the money for their art. A better idea 
would be to pay restitution, surcharges, victims and/or families of victims.

However, I don't feel the art work should be anonymous. The prisoners and 
the art program do deserve the recognition.

Genevieve Lugo, Oswego
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