In the last twenty years, according to heartsandminds.org, the American government has increased the money spent on prisons by 570% while money spent on our education system has only increased at a measly rate of 33%.
Our country places so much emphasis on education and the growth of the nation’s children, yet the education systems in states have been receiving cuts and slashes in the past years. The majority of these cuts could be avoided if the seemingly automatic response to crime was not to throw the culprit in jail. We should be decreasing the amount of money spent on keeping criminals comfortable in jail and increase the amount of money spent on the education of our country’s future.
It is an embarrassment that our country has more prisons than schools. More prisoners than high school teachers. In our society, receiving a higher form of education is becoming increasingly important and to have a country where such statistics exist is paradox.
There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” These inmates are each costing a shocking $31,000 per year in comparison to a measly $11,000 for students.
Our government is currently spending more to incarcerate citizens than it does to educate them. What does this say about our priorities? The government and American citizens claim that the education of our future generation is so important, but why are convicts and criminals currently a greater priority?
Our government needs to change this. We need to have a country that will make the education of future generations the top priority. The focus of political debates shouldn’t be so centered on how to protect our citizens from criminals. Politics and reform movements should be obsessed with ensuring that all children reach their maximum potential. A priority which, right now, is nonexistent.