Growth of Budget for Prisons Three Times Faster Than Budget for Schools, An Unfortunate Truth
There are so many people who fight for the greater funding of education in their country, but most of the time this does not work out. What's worse is that other sectors get the funding that the educational sector desperately needs. This is currently the case in the United States wherein the funding for prisons has been growing, on average, at an alarming rate which is three times faster compared to that for education.
According to the report from the United States Department of Education, there are 23 states whose budget for prison has doubled. On the other hand seven states, namely Idaho, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia, have increased their budget for prison by five times or more. "For three decades, our country has prioritized spending on prisons instead of classrooms. We can no longer afford this failure to invest in opportunity, only to lock up people once they've dropped out of school and turned to crime," says senior adviser to the President, Valerie Jarrett.
According to a news article from U.S. News and World Report, from the 1979-1980 school year up until the 2012-2013 school year, the budget for preschool to grade 12 schooling doubled. Meanwhile, the budget for correctional facilities went up by as much as 4 times. This represents a growth of $258 billion to $534 billion and $17 billion to $71 billion respectively. Although the budget for education is significantly larger, what is alarming is the rate at which the budget for prisons is catching up to that of education.
"Budgets reflect our values, and the trends revealed in this analysis are a reflection of our nation's priorities that should be revisited," says Secretary of Education John King. "We must choose to make more investments in our children's future. We need to invest more in prevention than in punishment, to invest more in schools, not prisons," he adds.
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