Tags: Voting Rights | oregon | spending | education | prison

Oregon Spending on Education vs. Corrections

By    |   Wednesday, 03 Feb 2016 08:29 PM

Educating a student costs a lot of money. Incarcerating a prisoner costs much more. Therefore, it should be hardly surprising that Oregon's prison spending required more money per prisoner than it did per student since prisoners required constant care and supervision.

Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said in his 2013 State of the State speech that Oregon should focus more of its money on education instead of prisons, bringing out a well-publicized line. "It costs $10,000 a year to keep a child in school. It costs $30,000 a year to keep someone in prison," Kitzhaber said.

PolitiFact Oregon fact-checked Kitzhaber's quote and researched whether he was resorting to hyperbole or actual statistics. It turned out that his numbers — though rounded — rang true.

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"If we are unwilling to act on this issue, in this upcoming legislative session, we will by default be choosing prisons over schools," Kitzhaber said.

Using the 2011-13 state budget and numbers from the Oregon Department of Corrections, PolitiFact found that the daily cost per offender was $82.48, and for the year it was $30,105. Then, using numbers from the Oregon Department of Education, PolitiFact reported that the state average spent per pupil was nearly $9,400.

"The relentless growth in the Department of Corrections is one of the major reasons we cannot adequately invest in education," Kitzhaber told Willamette Week, citing the same 2013 State of the State speech.

Willamette Week
also reported
that the education is the state's biggest expense in the state budget, followed by health care and then corrections. It also stated that the corrections budget increased 85 percent between 1995 and 2005.

College students also have suffered from so much of Oregon's spending that went to corrections.

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According to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, titled "Changing Priorities: State Criminal Justice Reforms and Investments in Education," Oregon has a not-so-laudable fact when it comes to its funding of colleges compared with prisons.

The report states that 11 states spent more general funds on corrections than on higher education in 2013, and Oregon stood alone as the only one that spent twice as much on corrections than colleges. That fact does not take tuition payments from students into account.

Counter that with another fact from the report: Oregon was one of 12 states to have more increased its corrections spending by more than four times between 1986 and 2013 (adjusted for inflation).

Changes have been enacted on the education front. According to The Oregonian, the Legislature approved extra funding for local schools in order to implement full-day kindergarten. The old state method was to provide 2.5 hours of instruction each day for kindergarten students.

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Educating a student costs a lot of money. Incarcerating a prisoner costs much more. Therefore, it should be hardly surprising that Oregon's prison spending required more money per prisoner than it did per student since prisoners required constant care and supervision.
oregon, spending, education, prison
493
2016-29-03
Wednesday, 03 Feb 2016 08:29 PM
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