Recently a report has come out that suggest the United States spend more on prisons and jails than it does on educating children. Moreover, there are at least 15 states that spend $27,000 more per person than on each student.
United States account for 4.4 percent of the global population, but houses 22 percent of the prisoners in the world.
With an average expenditure of $64,642 per inmate, California spends the most money on their inmates summing up to $8.6 billion per year. Aggravating the condition, it is also the state with the widest gap between education and prison spending -$11.495 per student and a difference of $53,146.
There are many reasons for this imbalance between education and prisons. One of which is US incarceration rates, they have literally more than tripled in the last three decades -even after falling crime rates. During the same period, government’s expenditure on K-12 education has only increased by 107 percent.
Another reason for the wide gap in spending between education and incarceration is that a prison need more workers than a school. An American teacher looks after an average of 20.8 students while a prison guard oversees an average of 5.3 prisoners only.
Additionally, you have to spend more money to feed the prisoners three times a day, while the students do not required such supervision whole day.
It may appear as if there is no relation between prison spending and education spending, but experts have found correlations between these two.
Consider this, two-third of the state prisoners inmates haven’t even graduated high school. Young black men aged between 20 to 24 without a high school diploma have more chances of ending up in prison than they have of finding a job, according to report a US Department of Education.
The second largest gap between per student and per prisoner cost is in New York. It also spends more on both than any other state. It spends $22,366 per student compared to $69,355 on each inmate, that is a difference of $46,989.
Following New York is Connecticut having a gap of $43,302 gap between $18,957 per student and $43,201 per inmate costs.
With a little margin, New Jersey ranks fourth. The gap is of $43,201 with $18,402 per student and $61,603 per inmate expenditures.
Rhode Island secures the fifth place. It spends $15,331 per student and $58,564 per inmate -a gap of $43,033.
Sixth is Vermont, with a $39,742 gap between per student ($17,872) and per inmate ($57,614) spending. Massachusetts is seventh in the list, it spends $15,592 on a student and $57,614 per inmate with a gap of $39,578.
Alaska ranks eighth with a gap of $35,124. The expenditure per student is $17,509 and $55,170 per inmate. Oregon came at ninth position, with a $33,180 gap between spending per student i.e. $10,481 and per inmate i.e. $44,021.
Maryland secures tenth position having a gap of $30,396. Its prisoner expenditure is $44,601 and education expenditure is $14,205.