Since the most recent presidential election, people are finding out pretty quickly, that if you really want to effect real, positive, and influential change, then you are going to have to start that change on a local level. For too long, voters have been wanting the federal government to step in and change the landscape of what has been going on within their local communities. For years, citizens have been blaming Presidents for the lack of funding within their cities, lack of growth, and for a lack of opportunity. Now, voters are starting to realize that power at a local level can be just as powerful than decisions made at a federal level.
The state of New York has long been defined as a melting pot, a state of influence, and a trailblazing place for those looking for bigger dreams in their lives and careers. Now, New York is being defined as a State that’s making history by listening to the voices of their constituents and taking action with some of the pressing issues that have been plaguing this state. In turn, these actions seem to be getting positive feedback, and cities around the world are looking at how to implement some of these ideas into their own future plans. These plans, though they are not perfect; they are a step in the right direction of making actionable moves, making the future for New Yorkers brighter.
Here are 3 cool steps NYC is taking to make life better for its citizens.
Tuition Free Schools
The state passed legislation this month that would provide free tuition to students attending New York State’s public colleges and Universities. According to the New York Times, the legislation is being held as, “a breakthrough and a model for other states that will change the lives of students at public colleges across the state.” This cuts the cost of a four-year degree by approximately $26,000.
Though the plan still has some kinks, for example, not making part-time students eligible. The state of NY must still be applauded for the execution of bringing it to the legislature for a vote. The money that will be saved will help alleviate the plague of student debt that has been around for decades.
Closing Rikers Island Prison
Parents of children who have been imprisoned on Rikers call it, “Torture Island”. From the day-long experience of having to travel in order to visit someone there, to its reputation of cutting prisoners off from their family and friends, to the violence that has become notoriously connected to this island; residents are glad to see it going away. This prison has a population less than half of what it was in the 30’s; however, the price of jailing someone in this New York jail has ballooned to $250,000 per year. Also, stabbings and slashings have quadrupled in the last ten years. We all know the story of Kalief Browder, held at Rikers for three years without a trial, for a crime he didn’t commit. Browder’s experience was at the epicenter of why this prison needed to shut down.
Though, it will take a few years to find all of the prisoners new homes, New Yorkers understand that if they were going to be held in high regards as being the progressive state; then sending inmates to a remote island is an old, and dated way of solving a new millennium problem.
Provide Jobs to Released Inmates
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will spend $10 million on their “Jail to Jobs” program. This program will guarantee that inmates currently serving time of a year or less in Rikers, will be issued short-term employment once they have completed their time. Jobs will be paid with taxpayer money, and not paid by employers. According to research, inmates who are able to get jobs once they are released from prison are less likely to commit crimes and return to prison.
Though this program, like some of the others, has many critics stating that it does not solve the problem, this is yet another progressive step that the state is making in trying to positively change the dynamic of their city.