Prison Spending to Outpace Education Spending in California.

“Nothing predicts future success better than a good education, and nothing guarantees failure more than the lack of one.”

Despite the irrefutability of the above statement, the state of California is projected to increase spending on construction of new prisons and correctional facilities by nine percent annually over the next five years. In this same period, the state is projected to increase spending on higher education by only five percent annually.

When you think about how many kids drop out of school and how many of these kids (especially the poor White, Black, and Latino ones) end up in prison, it’s astounding that anybody would even contemplate spending less on schools than on prisons. I’d love to see a study counting the number of people in jails and prisons around the countries who hold high school diplomas versus Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degrees. I bet that as education increases, the likelihood of incarceration decreases and I bet there are many more high school dropouts in prison than M.A. or Ph.D. holders.

If our society were genuinely concerned about ensuring that people do well enough to not wind up in prison, we would spend a lot less on correctional facilities and more on education and educational programs that reduce dropout rates and make sure more and more kids can go to college.

But if we did that, who would do our dirty, dangerous and low-wage work? And who would fill our private prisons and line the pockets of the “entrepreneurs” who captain the prison industrial complex?

I got the link to this story from PEN Weekly NewsBlast.

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One thought on “Prison Spending to Outpace Education Spending in California.

  1. The absurdity in the budget disparities actually starts at a much earlier stage. Average annual spending on a juvenile detainee in the CA youth prision system is close to $40K; average annual spending on a student in the public CA K-12 system is not quite $8K. Yet they continue to cut public school programs and continuall propose building youth multi multi-million dollar “mega-prisons” to expand their capacity to bar up our most troubled youth. Brilliant.

    Books not Bars is an excellent organization based in Oakland, CA, that advocates to dismantle and restructure the CYP. Check them out at http://www.ellabakercenter.org.

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