The High Cost of Not Educating Our Very Large Prison Population


When state governments began cutting state support for public higher education, one of the first casualties was the federal and state funding for providing college educations to prisoners.  It was politically unsustainable to compel American families to bear much more of the cost of higher education while providing such an education free of charge to those behind bars. If the ideological commitment to corporatization and privatization were going to be masked as an unavoidable consequence of financial constraints, then the funding for the education of prisoners could be justified as an unnecessary extravagance introduced in more economically prosperous and politically progressive times. It is worth emphasizing, too, that at the same time that public education has become increasingly corporatized and privatized, our prison systems have also been transformed into corporate profit centers.

Now, as the costs of not educating prisoners are becoming more apparent, the calls to reconsider and refund…

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