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    Education vs Incarceration Essay

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    This trend has starved essential social programs. Most notably education. Almost 75 percent of imprisonment spending is made at the state level, where dollars are drawn from a general fund that Is used to pay for a litany of public needs that include health care, housing, public assistance, and education. The National Association of State Budget Officers (NANAS) shows that elementary and high schools receive 73 percent of their state funding from this discretionary fund: public colleges and universities count on the fund for half of their budgets.

    However, $9 out of every $10 that supports Imprisonment comes from the same pool of money. 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. For some groups, the incarceration numbers are especially startling. While one In 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 are behind bars, for black males in that age group the figure Is one In nine. The nationwide figures, as of Jan. 1, 2010 Include 1 people in state and federal prisons and 723,1 31 in local Jails; a total ,319,258 out tot almost 230 million American adults.

    As a result of choices on where government dollars are spent, and the kind of Justice system and educational system policymakers have chosen to provide, the lifetime likelihood of African American men going to prison Is nearly twice as high as their getting a college degree. This tradeoff between education and incarceration is particularly noticeable at the community level. In many neighborhoods where millions of dollars are spent to lock up residents, the education infrastructure is broken.

    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 called “million dollar blocks” to reflect that spending on Incarceration was the predominant public sector Investment In these neighborhoods. NAACP research found 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 here incarceration rates are the highest.

    To shift our funding prolepses, national and state policy-makers need to choose cost-effective criminal-justice policies and focus on public-safety strategies that reduce crime and reserve more of the tax dollars for our children’s education. Only when we make meaningful investments In schools, not prison, will our country reap the benefits through increased earnings for families, reduced unemployment, t Off reach reliance on puddle assailants, Increased CIVIC proclamation, Ana Impair public safety for neighborhoods at risk of violence and visualization.

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