Sunday, April 10, 2011

New NAACP report ties state spending on prisons to low education achievement

SF-Based Business and Philanthropy Leader Mitch Kapor Joins NAACP, Others in Bipartisan Call to Reduce Incarceration

New NAACP report ties state spending on prisons to low education achievement; California data available in report
Multi-city billboard campaign, including in Los Angeles, will kick off regional efforts to reform criminal justice policy, influence state budgets 

(Washington, DC) – On Thursday, April 7, at 1:30 p.m. EST at the National Press Club, business and philanthropy leader Mitchell Kapor will join the NAACP and an unlikely, bipartisan alliance, including representatives of law enforcement, to draw attention to the link between state spending on prisons and low education achievement.
In addition to NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, speakers will include Rod Paige, former Secretary of Education under the Bush Administration; Mike Jimenez of Corrections USA, representative of over 80,000 prison guards nationwide and president of the nation’s largest prison guard union  (California Correctional Peace Officers Association); and Mitchell Kapor, founder of Lotus Development Corporation and founding investor in Second Life, among other ventures. Also expected at the news conference are David Keene, former Chairman of the American Conservative Union; and Pat Nolan of the Prison Fellowship, who has worked closely with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to establish the conservative Right On Crime coalition.
The press conference is timed with the release of an NAACP report that examines escalating levels of prison spending and the resulting impact on state budgets and our nation’s children. “Misplaced Priorities: Under Educate, Over Incarcerate” uncovers a disturbing connection between needlessly high incarceration rates and poorly performing schools. Between 1987 and 2007, state spending on incarceration grew by 127 percent while investment in higher education increased only 21 percent. Since 1988, California’s spending on prisons has risen 20 times faster than on higher education.
 “Misplaced Priorities” tracks the steady shift of state resources away from education and toward the criminal justice system. Researchers found that over-incarceration impacts vulnerable, often minority, populations and destabilizes communities. For instance, in Houston, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, over 65% of the lowest-performing schools are in neighborhoods with the highest rates of incarceration. The report offers recommendations that will help policymakers downsize prisons and shift those savings to education budgets.
A promotional billboard campaign will accompany the report’s release, kicking off regional efforts to influence state budget decisions and change state criminal justice policies. Billboards will be placed around the country – including at West Century Blvd. in Los Angeles – featuring jarring statistics about our nation’s criminal justice system.
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