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Diane L Littles

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Democracy Is Not a Spectator's Sport
by Diane L Littles   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2011

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Where we spend our money as a society shows our priorities.

 

We reap what we sow.  So let’s really look at what we have been sowing as a society for many years.

The average annual operating cost per inmate among facilities operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons was $22,632 or $62.01 per day per(US Dept. of Justice, 2004) As of June 2006, 2,245,189 prisoners were held in Federal or State prisons or in local jails which costs approximately $50 billion per year.  (US Department of Justice, 2007)

As a society we approve of our local legislatures investing our tax dollars in prisons instead of more investment in education.

Steven Hawkins in The American Prospect, stated that nearly 75 percent of imprisonment spending happens at the state level, where dollars are drawn from a general fund that is meant to pay for a range of public needs, including health care, housing, public assistance, and education. Whether we look back over the last two decades, or just the last two years, education, in particular, has become a casualty of state budget battles. Analysis by the National Association of State Budget Officers shows that elementary and high schools receive 73 percent of their state funding from this discretionary fund; colleges and universities count on the fund for half of their budgets. However, $9 out of every $10 that supports imprisonment comes from the same pot of money. With tens of billions of dollars in prison spending annually, states are finding that there is simply less discretionary money available to invest in education, especially in these lean economic times. (Hawkins, 2010)

The strength of any nation is the strength, stability, education and care of the people.  Our state legislatures are deciding how to spend our tax dollars.

Are we watching the decisions they are making with our money?

States still spend more of their general-fund dollars on education than on incarceration, but the percentage of dollars being used for incarceration is increasing, while the percentage for education is decreasing. In 33 of 50 states, corrections -- related costs made up a larger proportion of the general fund than in the previous fiscal year, while spending on K-12 and higher education decreased. (Hawkins, 2010)

Though it is a state budget expenditure, the money is appropriated based on the Federal Budget.  For more information please visit this link, http://www.justice.gov/jmd/2011factsheets/pdf/maintain-security.pdf

What are you going to choose Education or Prison for the children in America?


“Democracy is not a spectator’s sport.”


 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hawkins, S. (2010, 12 6). Articles: The American Prospect. Retrieved February 18, 2011, from American Prospect Website: http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=education_vs_incarceration

US Department of Justice, O. o. (2007). Bureau of Justice Statistics Prison Statistics. US Department of Justice.

US Dept. of Justice, ,. O. (2004). Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. US Dept. of Justice.

 

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