Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Student Spending in Michigan

I am going to put out some figures but I don’t stand by them 100%. Why, because people and reports can spin numbers to make them come out any way they want as long as it supports their position.

I have read where Michigan is only one of a handful of states that spend more money on prisoners than they do students. Can this really be true? According to research gathered from the Department of Justice, Georgia lawmakers, for example, allocate about$18,000 a year to incarcerate one inmate in a state prison. But the National Education Association says the state spends about one-third of that to put a child through the public education system.

In reading two separate reports from the Department of Justice and the National Education Association, research shows California spends about $47,000 per inmate while only spending about $9,000 for every student enrolled. New York State spends about $56,000 per inmate and approximately $16,000 for every student in the school system. Michigan pays about $34,000 for every prisoner and about $11,000 for a student.

Other states that spend more on corrections than on higher education are Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Oregon, and Vermont.

Now I am just going to use some basic facts that I know to be true by approximation.

It really bothers me that the State of Michigan spends approximately $35,000 a year to house, feed and provide medical benefits for prisoners. There are approximately 50,000 people that are currently incarcerated in the state of Michigan.

The state allocates/provides approximately $7,600 per pupil. There are approximately 1,745,308 pupils in Michigan.

So if I multiply $7,600 X 13 (K-12) that = $ 98, 800

Now I do it for a prisoner who spends 13 (years in prison) X $35,000 that = $455,000

I’m not so sure we are getting our tax dollars worth in either scenario. However, my question is who has the better chance of return? That is who has the better chance of being a productive citizen and paying taxes over an extended period of time?

This is a great graphic by Buckfire& Buckfire PC www.buckfirelaw.com - please note the amount of student spending has gone down in recent year through budget cuts but the amount on prisoners has gone up.

I suppose most people would rather put the majority of money on the students than the prisoners. Maybe even make the dollar allocation a 50/50 split. I’m still not sure if that is spending bad money for more bad money since our schools according to the state are not producing students that are ready for the workplace or college.

I’m sure the states in question can make the numbers dance and have it look like they don’t actually spend more on prisoners that they do students. In fact, I believe that to be true. The point is looking at one prisoner and one student and the fact is something is not right and it should be changed immediately.

Has anyone done a study to determine the correlation between high school dropouts and how many are incarnated as opposed to those who do finish high school?


Heck I even wrote on this topic in 2006 –

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