Rate of spending for prisons outpaces that of education in Arizona

PHOENIX — A new report from the U.S. Department of Education found that most states, including Arizona, tripled the rate of spending for state and local prisons compared to public schools.

Arizona increased its prison spending at a rate 303 percent greater than education spending over three decades. It is the 12th highest disparity in the nation according to the report. The report examined spending on pre-k through 12th grade schools and compared that to state and local correctional facilities in each state.

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Cronkite News spoke to experts about what the numbers indicate about American society:

UPDATE: Torunn Sinclair, digital and broadcast press secretary for governor Doug Ducey, provided the following statement via email:

“These numbers represent a period of financial hardship for Arizona – our budget was in the red and every program was getting cut. Fast forward four years and we’re back on track. We just put $3.5 billion into K-12 schools over the next 10 years – including nearly $300 million in new money for Fiscal Year 2017. We’ve made it clear that we are committed to our public schools, students and teachers.”