A report released Wednesday examining prison growth in 17 key political battleground states found that prison spending grew five times as fast as higher education spending there between 1985 and 2002. Nearly two million adults in the 17 states are ineligible to vote due to felony disenfranchisement laws in those states. Both trends disproportionately affect the African American population in those 17 states, according to the report, “Swing States: Crime, Prisons and the Future of the Nation,” released by the non-profit Justice Policy Institute.
“Prisons are growing, education is suffering and the African American community hit hardest is increasingly shut out of the debate,” states Vincent Schiraldi, executive director of the institute and report co-author. States highlighted in the report include Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia. Click on the link to access the report. The Justice Policy Institute, based in Washington, D.C., describes itself as “a non-profit research and a public policy organization dedicated to ending society's reliance on incarceration and promoting effective and just solutions to social problems.”