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Education vs prison costs

Data from 40 states depict how much government money is spent per year to educate an elementary/secondary school student compared to the cost of keeping an inmate imprisoned.

Source: U.S. Census Data and Vera Institute of Justice Graphic: Tal Yellin / CNNMoney


Education data was collected by the U.S. Census and covers public school children prekindergarten through twelfth grade. Prison data from the Vera Institute was collected in each state using a department of corrections survey. Corrections departments from 40 states completed and returned the survey, which asked respondents to provide prison expenditures paid by the department of corrections, as well as prison costs paid by other agencies.