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

By Valerie Bauman for Dailymail.com

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.

Americans account for 4.4 percent of the global population, but 22 percent of the world’s prison population.

California spends $8.6 billion a year on its prison system, more than any other state, averaging $64,642 per inmate. It’s also the state with the biggest gap between education and prison spending, paying just $11,495 per student for a difference of $53,146, according to a new analysis by personal finance site GoBankingRates.

Several factors play into the imbalance, including U.S. incarceration rates, which have more than tripled over the past three decades – even as crime rates have fallen. During the same period, government spending on K-12 education increased by 107 percent, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Education.

Another factor in the spending gap between education and incarceration is that it takes more workers to run a prison than a school, with each American teacher supervising an average of 20.8 students, while prison guards oversee an average of 5.3 prisoners.

Read more here.

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