The city of St. Louis spends more money on prisons than education. In 2022, the city spent $216 million on its jails and prisons, while it spent only $194 million on its public schools. This means that the city spends about $1.10 on prisons for every $1.00 it spends on education.
This spending disparity is not unique to St. Louis. Across the United States, states and cities spend significantly more money on prisons than on education. In 2019, the United States spent $80.3 billion on prisons, while it spent only $69.7 billion on public schools. This means that the United States spends about $1.17 on prisons for every $1.00 it spends on education.
There are a number of reasons why states and cities spend more money on prisons than on education. One reason is that prisons are a major source of jobs. In St. Louis, for example, the city’s jails and prisons employ about 2,000 people. This means that there is a lot of political pressure to keep the prisons open, even if it means spending less money on education.
Another reason why states and cities spend more money on prisons is that prisons are seen as a way to address crime. However, there is little evidence that prisons actually reduce crime. In fact, some studies have shown that prisons can actually increase crime rates.
The spending disparity between prisons and education is a serious problem. It means that states and cities are not investing enough in their children’s future. This is a recipe for disaster, as it will lead to a less educated and more criminalized population.