Education vs incarceration

Hard work, sacrifice, and personal effort, we are told, determine what happens to us. But increasingly, the fundamental institutions of American society function unfairly, restricting access and opportunity for millions of people. The greatest example of this is the present-day criminal justice system.

Education vs incarceration

America now has the dubious distinction of leading the world in prison population: We account for 25 percent of all prisoners but only 5 percent of the global population.

Our penchant for punishment has come at a cost. Indeed, confinement costs have claimed an increasing share of state and local government spending.

This trend has starved essential social programs -- most notably education. Nearly 75 percent of Education vs incarceration spending happens at the state level, where dollars are drawn from a general fund that is meant to pay for a range of public needs, including health care, housing, public assistance, and education.

Whether we look back over the last two decades, or just the last two years, education, in particular, has become a casualty of state budget battles. Analysis by the National Association of State Budget Officers shows that elementary and high schools receive 73 percent of their state funding from this discretionary fund; colleges and universities count on the fund for half of their budgets.

With tens of billions of dollars in prison spending annually, states are finding that there is simply less discretionary money available to invest in education, especially in these lean economic times. Indeed, as the economic downturn limited all state spending in the fiscal yearthe share of general-fund money going to incarceration grew as expenditures in every other category -- -save public assistance -- declined.

States still spend more of their general-fund dollars on education than on incarceration, but the percentage of dollars being used for incarceration is increasing, while the percentage for education is decreasing.

In 33 of 50 states, corrections -- related costs made up a larger proportion of the general fund than in the previous fiscal year, while spending on K and higher education decreased. The federal stimulus, no doubt, helped states find money to pay for both prisons and other basic state services as tax revenue eroded.

When future budget years arrive, however, and states and counties try to balance their books without the assistance of the federal stimulus, young people will experience more of the same: All of this will happen while prison spending grows.

This tradeoff between education and incarceration is particularly acute at the community level. In many urban neighborhoods where millions of dollars are spent to lock up residents, the education infrastructure is crippled.

As the prison population skyrocketed in the past three decades, researchers began to notice that high concentrations of inmates were coming from a few select neighborhoods -- primarily poor communities of color -- in major cities. These were dubbed "million -- dollar blocks" to reflect that spending on incarceration was the predominant public -- sector investment in these neighborhoods.

Education vs incarceration

NAACP research shows that matching zip codes to high rates of incarceration also reveals where low-performing schools, as measured by math proficiency, tend to cluster.

The lowest-performing schools tend to be in the areas where incarceration rates are the highest. The following examples are instructive.

California has the largest prison population in the country, with more thanindividuals behind bars. More than a billion dollars are spent every year to incarcerate people from these communities.

Incarceration Trends in America. Between and , the number of people incarcerated in America increased from roughly , to over million. The reason for the difference in the education gap between whites and blacks is really one of perceived opportunity cost. If you are white in the U.S., the probability of living in a more prosperous community than if you are black is higher, and the value of (at least some of) the fruits of education . 40 (Volume 20, No. 1) March, Introduction by The Editors. SOCIALISM AND DEMOCRACY AT Frank Rosengarten – Looking Back in Order to Look Ahead: Twenty Years of Research and Publishing by the Research Group on Socialism and Democracy Victor Wallis – Socialism and Democracy During the First 20 Years of Socialism and Democracy. A NEW WORLD ORDER?.

As a result, district officials were planning to raise class sizes and lay off thousands of teachers and other school-based staff. How is school success affected by these policy choices and spending patterns?

Education vs Incarceration

There is no definitive way to know what the previous spending cuts have meant for Los Angeles schools, but we do know that in Los Angeles, 67 percent of low-performing schools are in neighborhoods with the highest incarceration rates. As hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in incarcerating people from these select neighborhoods, the corresponding disinvestment in education in those neighborhoods is telling.

Sixty-six percent of lower-performing schools are clustered in or very near neighborhoods with the highest rates of incarceration -- where the biggest taxpayer investment in imprisonment is being made. In Houston, of the six schools deemed lower-performing, five are in neighborhoods with the highest rates of incarceration.

By contrast, of the 12 schools considered higher-performing, eight are in neighborhoods with the lowest incarceration rates. What we learn from Los Angeles, Houston, and Philadelphia is that our national priorities are misplaced, and with devastating consequences.

In a few select neighborhoods, the heavy investment in incarceration over education correlates with the lowest-performing schools. These neighborhoods send more individuals to prison than to college -- reflecting the pattern of dollars invested.

The relationship has not yet been shown to be causal, but we do see a correlative effect between education and incarceration. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California noted in his State of the State address: What does it say about any state that focuses more on prison uniforms than on caps and gowns?Incarceration in the United States is one of the main forms of punishment and rehabilitation for the commission of felony and other United States has the largest prison population in the world, and the highest per-capita incarceration rate.

The report comes after former U.S.

Education vs incarceration

Education Secretary Arne Duncan last September called on states and communities to invest in teachers rather than prisons by finding alternative paths for non-violent offenders outside of incarceration. The $15 billion that could be saved by finding alternate paths to incarceration for just half of non-violent.

Author Raphael Sperry is national President of Architects / Designers / Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) and works at Architects in San Francisco.

ADPSR is a national educational non-profit working for peace, environmental protection, ecological building, social justice, and development of healthy communities. The reason for the difference in the education gap between whites and blacks is really one of perceived opportunity cost.

If you are white in the U.S., the probability of living in a more prosperous community than if you are black is higher, and the value of (at least some of) the fruits of education .

Education & Incarceration 8 The Lifetime Likelihood of Education versus Incarceration In , the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) estimated that 9% of American males, and 29% of African American males born in will spend some time in prison in their. The current sociopolitical climate, relating to mass incarceration in the United States, serves as a critical component in increasing the contact the incarceration system has with the United States education system, as patterns of criminalization translate into the school context.

Specific practices implemented in United States schools over the past ten years to reduce violence in schools.

Education vs prison costs - CNNMoney