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More on the Prison Nation


Certainly no longer the big news of the day (if it ever was), but the Times editorial board got on the Prison Nation bandwagon today with a damn good editorial.

The editorial touches on the issues of cost that I have been raising:

Nationwide, the prison population hovers at almost 1.6 million, which surpasses all other countries for which there are reliable figures. The 50 states last year spent about $44 billion in tax dollars on corrections, up from nearly $11 billion in 1987. Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan and Oregon devote as much money or more to corrections as they do to higher education.

Seems like that comparison puts into perspective how we might argue that prisons are a significant waste of money and mis-allocation of resources.

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