State Spending on Prisons vs. Higher Education
"In 1987, the states collectively spent $10.6 billion of their general funds—their primary pool of discretionary tax dollars—on corrections. Last year, they spent more than $44 billion, a 315 percent jump, data from the National Association of State Budget Officers show. Adjusted to 2007 dollars, the increase was 127 percent. Over the same period, adjusted spending on higher education rose just 21 percent."
Pew Center on the States, "One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008," (Washington, DC: The Pew Charitable Trusts, February 2008), p. 4.