Schools or Prisons?
It is most disturbing that Maryland officials approved spending some $30 million of taxpayers money for a new jail to house Baltimore youth caught in the grip of the criminal justice system. This budget decision mirrors a pattern in Maryland and across the country of spending on incarceration over education, what has been called "school-to-prison pipeline".
Allocation of public funds on prisons nationwide has outpaced spending on schools in many states in recent years, according to a 2014 research study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Even though many states continue spending more on education than on corrections, budgets on prisons is on the increase while spending on schools is declining. The research study revealed that states making the largest cuts in K-12 education - Alabama, Arizona, and Oklahoma - are among the 10 states with the largest incarceration levels.
Although prisons are more expensive per person than schools, and imprisonment leads to costlier outcomes for offenders compared with those who graduate from high school.