Last month, the U.S. Department of Education’s Policy and Program Studies Service published a brief titled, “State and Local Expenditures on Corrections and Education.”

According to the authors, “From 1979–80 to 2012–13, public PK–12 expenditures increased by 107 percent (from $258 to $534 billion), while total state and local corrections expenditures increased by 324 percent (from $17 to $71 billion) ? triple the rate of increase in education spending.”

North Carolina increased corrections expenditures at nearly twice the rate of increase in education spending.  Between 1980 and 2013, North Carolina’s prekindergarten-12 expenditures increased by 126 percent, while corrections spending increased by 249 percent.  That was a relatively modest gap compared to other states, particularly those in the “wild west,” but it is hardly cause for celebration.

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