Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Some US States Value Prisoners More Than College Students

Today, we have an interesting infographic that compares the spending on prisons with spending on higher education by state. Most shocking to me was the fact that there are three times as many African Americans in prison as in college:

Prison vs Princeton
Created by: Public Administration

Currently, seven states spend more on prisons than on higher education, but there are far more states than that in which the spending is almost equal. Then again, this shouldn't be surprising - the USA has the distinction of having the highest incarceration rate in the world - even higher than such human rights bastions like China, Russia, and Rwanda. It takes serious cash to imprison more of your citizens per capita than any other country - a reality created by the US's love of locking people up for non-violent drug offenses. Think of the children!

This infographic should be a small reminder that the USA needs to revise its public spending priorities and how it approaches drugs, criminality, punishment, and prisoner rehabilitation - why is it that we can always find money to build another prison, but we can't find money for education? There must be a better way to manage our citizenry when it misbehaves, whether that misbehavior is related to Mary Jane or murder.

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