A plan that would have funded college courses for inmates in state prisons will be paid for by non-profit and charitable groups, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Tuesday at a Red Room news conference.

Cuomo defused the potentially thorny political opposition that arose to proposal, first made in February during caucus weekend for black and Latino lawmakers.

Cuomo has pointed to academic studies that show giving prison inmates access to college programs would reduce recidivism and ultimately save the state money.

The governor indicated today he continues to agree with the plan.

“If you were just doing this on the economics, it is less expensive for the taxpayer to pay for education courses in college than dealing with the recidivism rate,” Cuomo said.

But lawmakers in the Senate, including Democrat Ted O’Brien who is running for a second term in a district formerly held by a Republican, expressed unease with the proposal.

Cuomo said “I understand the appearance of it” when it come to funding the program with public money.

“But there was a certain appearance issue and symbolism, so I agreed with the Legislature that we would do the programs in colleges,” Cuomo said. “They would be private, they would be privately funded by not-for-profits and charitable organizations.”