According to an article today by James Sterngold in the San Francisco Chronicle, California will soon have the dubious honor of being the first state to spend more on prisons than higher education.
Sterngold says that beginning in fiscal 2012-2013 the state will spend $15.4 billion annually on incarcerating prisoners—$100 million more a year than on colleges and universities.
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The story quotes Orange County Republican Assemblyman Todd Spitzer—a former reserve cop, prosecutor and county supervisor—supporting increased prison spending. Spitzer blames criminals.
"For another decade we're going to need large infusions of money to deal with [building new prisons] and to deal with our off-the-chart recidivism rates," he told the Chronicle.
Government statistics show that a whopping 70 percent of released prisoners commit additional crimes within three years and return to the slammer.
Sterngold's article, "Prisons' Budget to Trump Colleges': No other big state spends as much to incarcerate compared with higher education funding"—can be found at the Chronicle website: www.sfgate.com.