Lawmakers in 11 states are spending more on prisons and jails than their public colleges.
That’s the bottom line of a new report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The states are Michigan, Oregon, Arizona, Vermont, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
States have been slashing funding for higher education over the past decade, and cuts got deeper during the Great Recession. State budgets for public universities have been cut about 20% since 2008, according to the report.
Since 1986, funding for prisons has spiked 141%.
And spending on things like Medicaid and pension contributions keeps growing. Politicians find it nearly impossible to make cuts to those programs.