Friday, July 8, 2016

Department of Education Report: Spending on Prisons Rises 3 Times Faster than on Schools

The U.S. Department of Education recently released a policy brief where state and local spending on corrections is rising faster than spending on public education since 1990. More than 15 states invest more on incarceration than higher education. Texas leas the nation (up 668%!) in prison spending over schools. The school-to-prison pipeline is real: students of color are more likely than white children to be funneled into the criminal justice system for minor offenses that sets them up later for incarceration. The disparities has become so dire that it costs more money to house a prisoner than enroll a child in a private four-year institution!

As higher education appropriations declines, more public institutions increase their tuition to make up for the lack of revenue from the state. This alarming news is bad because states are prioritizing imprisonment rather than rehabilitation services to reduce recidivism rates. Furthermore, funding for social service programs (e.g., job training programs, affordable health care, affordable housing, foster care youth programs, and programs to combat homelessness) do not receive receive adequate funding. This current trend in prison spending is counterproductive and We need a more socially-just approach that does not penalize working families and communities of color. Click here for the Department of Education's policy brief, State and Local Expenditures on Corrections and Education.

State and local spending on prisons and jails is increasing at a faster rate than spending on public education over the past three decades, according to a U.S. Department of Education report. The report, released Thursday, highlights a dramatic increase in spending on prisons and jails nationally, and the relative disparity in increases to education-related spending.

According to the report, PK-12 expenditures increased from $258 billion in 1979-80 to $534 billion in 2012-13. Over the same period, state and local expenditures on correctional facilities increased from $17 billion to $71 billion.

The report also showed that 46 states, with the exception of West Virginia, Wyoming, North Dakota and Nebraska, reduced their expenditures for higher education over the past three decades, while increasing the amount spent on correctional facilities.

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