Incarceration vs. education: America spends more on its prison system than it does on public schools – and California is the worst

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  • Most American states spend more on their prisons than they do on education – and California is the worst, investing $64,642 per prisoner compared to $11,495 per student – a $53,146 difference in spending priorities
  • The reasons include an incarceration rate that has tripled over the past three decades, the higher cost of caring for people in prisons 24 hours a day, and the higher number of workers required to operate a prison
  • New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island round out the top states spending more on prisons

The U.S. spends more on prisons and jails than it does on educating children – and 15 states spend at least $27,000 more per prisoner than they do per student, according to a new report.

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