New Report Shows Prison Spending Outpaces Education

According to POLITICO Pro, the Education Department’s new policy brief compares state and local expenditures on corrections and education. The brief reports that while higher education funding has remained stagnant, state and local government spending on jails and prisons has increased by 90% over the past 30 years.

Local and state government corrections spending has also increased three times as fast as K-12 funding from the 1989-90 school year to 2012-2013.

The brief also reports that researchers have found connections between poor educational outcomes and incarceration. It states “investments in education can reduce criminal activity by altering student behavior and improving labor market outcomes.”

“Budgets reflect our values – and this disparity reflects values that are worth revisiting,” Education Secretary John B. King Jr. told reporters.

“We cannot truly be the land of opportunity when contradictions remain between what we know and what we do,” he said.

As President Barack Obama’s term comes to end, the administration has worked to support the successful reentry of prisoners into their communities. Last month, it introduced a pilot program that would allow about 12,000 inmates to be able to use Pell Grants to pay for college.