Vt. tops list of states that spend more on prison than college

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Vermont spends more money locking people up than it does educating them.

So says a new report by the Pew Center on the States, which shows that Vermont tops the list of states that spend more money on prison than higher education . The state spends $1.37 on corrections for every $1 spent on public universities and community colleges.

Vermont is one of only four states to spend more on corrections than education. Forty-five states spend more on higher education than prisons.

State Senator Richard Sears, who chairs a corrections oversight committee in Montpelier, says Vermont’s prison spending has been building for decades due to tougher drunk driving laws, longer prison sentences and the few alternatives to incarceration.

But he says his committee is working on bills that would reduce that by finding alternatives to prison for nonviolent felons.

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