Seven members of New York's congressional delegation are backing tuition assistance for people in prison, ending a decades-long ban in the process. 

The lawmakers, Reps. Ritchie Torres, Nydia Velazquez, Greg Meeks, Jamaal Bowman, Grace Meng, Hakeem Jeffries, Carolyn Maloney, and Mondaire Jones, largely backs the proposal made earlier this year by Gov. Kathy Hochul to extend higher education courses for people in New York prisons.

The proposal made by Hochul is part of a package of changes she's called for to the state's criminal justice system, including a measure meant to seal many criminal records once sentences are completed. 

But such measures have proved controversial in the past, and efforts to bolster educational outreach for incarcerated people have been shelved amid opposition in the state Legislature. 

But proponents have argued that re-establishing access for people in prison to the Tuition Assistance Program, known as TAP, would reduce recidivism, increase the job prospects for people once they are released and help narrow a racial inequality gap. 

The program provides tuition aid to middle and low-income earners in New York. 

"Allowing incarcerated students to benefit from TAP is a long overdue and straightforward action that builds opportunity, promotes equity, strengthens democracy, and affirms our commitment to racial justice in New York state," the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

On the federal level, Congress lifted a ban on Pell Grant eligibility for people in prison after a 25-year ban. 

"Restoring TAP for incarcerated individuals will give New York a chance to demonstrate its commitment to social justice, equity, and fairness," the lawmakers wrote in the letter. "We strongly support its inclusion in the state budget this year and appreciate your consideration of this request."

New York's budget is expected to pass by the end of the month.