5 States Spend More on Prisons Than on Higher Education, Report Says

February 29, 2008

While one of its findings made more headlines — that about one out of every 100 U.S. adults is behind bars — a recently released report from the Pew Center on the States also shows that increases in states’ corrections budgets are far surpassing those for higher education.

From 1987 to 2007, the amount that states spent on corrections increased 127 percent, more than six times the 21-percent increase that states directed to higher education over the same period, according to the report.

The report also showed that for the first time, five states spend more on corrections than they do on higher education. Those states are Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Oregon, and Vermont. However, the average state spends about 65 percent more on higher education than on corrections. —JJ Hermes