American states seems to be more interested in their prison systems and how to run them than they have in education, this is definitely true if the latest reports and as shown by their budgets is anything to go by.
The report released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that the growth of state spending on prisons in recent years has far outpaced the growth of spending on education. The Huffingtonpost reports that:
State spending on corrections has exploded in recent years, as incarceration rates have more than tripled in a majority of states in the past few decades. The report says that the likelihood that an offender will be incarcerated has gone up across the board for all major crimes. At the same time, increases in education spending have not kept pace. In fact, since 2008, spending on education has actually declined in a majority of states in the wake of the Great Recession.
According to the brief, rates of violent crime and property crime have actually fallen over the years, even while incarceration rates have risen. Therefore, it appears that states’ more aggressive incarceration policies are behind the higher prison rates.
Michael Mitchell, a co-author of the report and a policy analyst with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, suggested that education spending could actually help lower incarceration rates. “When you look at prisoners, people who get sent to prison and their educational levels, [the levels are] typically much lower than individuals who are not sent to prison,” he told The Huffington Post. “Being a high school dropout dramatically increases your likelihood of being sent to prison.”
“Spending so many dollars locking up so many people, those are dollars that inevitably cannot be used to provide pre-K slots … or financial aid for those who want to go to college,” Mitchell added.