Educate or incarcerate?

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Here in Arizona, we spend about $25,000 more for every prisoner than for every student, according to the non-partisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Here in Arizona, we spend about $25,000 more for every prisoner than for every student, according to the non-partisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Jonathon Trethway, who spent 13 years in prison and now works with at-risk youth, says the discrepancies between and school and prison funding means the state is headed down the wrong path. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Jonathon Trethway, who spent 13 years in prison and now works with at-risk youth, says the discrepancies between and school and prison funding means the state is headed down the wrong path. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Dan Hunting, a policy adviser at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University, says it's a reflection of decisions Arizona has made over the years. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Dan Hunting, a policy adviser at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University, says it's a reflection of decisions Arizona has made over the years. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

That's a question being raised by a new report by the U.S. Department of Education

Since 1989, the nation has boosted spending on prisons at three times the rate of schools

Here in Arizona, we spend about $25,000 more for every prisoner than for every student, according to the non-partisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

Dan Hunting, a policy adviser at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University, says it's a reflection of decisions Arizona has made over the years.

"Getting tough on crime has been an important thing to do so we've made those things, so we've made those policy choices," he said Tuesday.

In addition, Hunting said the situation isn't going to change anytime soon.

"Any changes to this are going to take place over a long period of time," he said. "It took us a long time to get into this situation right now."

Schools are getting more money as a result of Proposition 123, which voters passed in May. The measure funnels a total of $3.5 billion into classrooms over the next 10 years.

READ: Gov. Ducey declares victory for Prop. 123 (May 19, 2016)

Critics says it does little to improve Arizona's low ranking on state spending when compared to other states across the country.

Jonathon Trethway, who spent 13 years in prison and now works with at-risk youth, says the discrepancies between and school and prison funding means the state is headed down the wrong path.

"What it says is we are placing a higher value on punishing people and putting people in tortuous conditions than we do providing and taking care of and protecting our youth," he said.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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