15 States That Spend Way More on Prison Than on Education

The United States has the largest prison population in the world both in terms of the number incarcerated and as a percentage of the total population. Even more disheartening is that 15 states have more people in prison than college housing. Facing a monumental population of 7 million people in correctional facilities, states have had to buckle down and build more and more prisons at the sacrifice of improving and/or building college dormitories. Here are the 15:


According to data provided by the Atlantic, over $45,000 is spent on keeping each California inmate imprisoned per year, while only about $7,400 is spent on each college student. In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the overcrowding reached close to double the prisons’ designed capacity and that inmates’ health and safety were unconstitutionally compromised. The court ordered the state to reduce its prison population by tens of thousands of inmates. If the state would have gone even further and emptied the entire prison population and sent every inmate to a University of California school, that would be $7 billion a year, the Atlantic said.



The budget for prisons in Nevada is $568,351,143. Meanwhile, it has reduced spending on colleges by 31.2 percent. CNN found that less than $10,000 was spent on the education of an elementary or secondary student per year, but nearly $20,000 is spent per year on the imprisonment of an inmate.

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