Government and State Spending on Prisoners vs. Students

My name is Raekwon Smith and I’m doing a post on a world topic that interests me for school. It’s called You and The World and you pick a problem going on in the world that you want to talk about and then do a series of blog posts on it. My topic is about how the government and individual states spend more money on prisoners than kids and education. This topic is important to me because this could affect our education in the future because all the money we have is going towards funding prisons and prisoners that don’t deserve the care they receive. Prisons cost taxpayers more than $32 billion a year. Every year that an inmate spends in prison costs $22,000. An individual sentenced to five years for a $300 theft costs the public more than $100,000. The cost of a life term averages $1.5 million.One year at New Jersey State Prison cost more than one year at Princeton university.


According to, States are spending more money on prisons than education. Over the course of the last 20 years, the amount of money spent on prisons was increased by 570% while that spent on elementary and secondary education was increased by only 21%. They provide prisoners with free health care, internet access, weight room, cable television, access to libraries, free sports programs, computer lab, laundry services, funding to earn a degree, free housing, three square meals a day, clothing, and free dental care. Not all kids are provided with that type of care and attention that they give to prisoners. Our state of Pennsylvania is second on the list of most prisons.

Pennsylvania cut the budget for education to spend it on the growing rate of criminals in 2007. There are 46,000 inmates in Pennsylvania and $90 is spent on each inmate per day—which covers food, health care recreation, etc. The national average is only $63. $3.3 billion was spent last year on prison health care services.  Every inmate is guaranteed access to health care when they require it. It is stated in that if 30% of the prison population went to private facilities then it would save $100 million dollars annually but only 28 states allow that.


Private places could provide better care for prisoners while saving money (which would cost tax payers less) and preparing them for when they are released into the real world again to get along with everyone else. Every day 200 new cells are built. There could be private places instead to have a better outcome in the future. Her is picture of a prison cell in a Pennsylvania prison Here is my bibliography.


Comments (2)

Brian Birkmire (Student 2015)
Brian Birkmire

I notice that you used good information and data. It's scary to think about this topic, especially when I am a student still getting my education! I wonder if there's a way we can get the concept to congress or the government to fix this. What if the class as a whole wrote a letter to the president? :D

Gabriel Musselman (Student 2015)
Gabriel Musselman

This is a really interesting topic. It is crazy how this can happen in our country. I notice how the education system is so messed up. I wonder how we can change this. What if the money went to our education?