The title of the report by the NAACP is Misplaced Priorities: A New Report from NAACP. This organization tracked a slow but steady shift away from public education spending and into the criminal justice system. While funding for higher education between 1987 and 2007 grew by just 21 percent, corrections funding grew by 127 percent!
- While the United States boasts about five percent of the world's population, it is also home to around 25 percent of the world's prisoners.
- This country spends nearly $70 billion on incarceration, including prisons, jails and youth detention centers, as well as surveillance for those on parole and probation.
- More African-American men are incarcerated today than were enslaved in 1850.
- Low-income whites are the fastest group of drug-prisoners in the United States, adding to the incarceration problems the country faces.
- Improvements in sentencing and drug policy
- The establishment of a blue-ribbon commission to review the criminal justice system
- Passing on savings from the commission to the education system
"A poor drug addict needs the same thing as a rich drug addict," Jealous told the Washington Post. "They don't need prison. Sending them to rehab costs less. The money that we use to spend on prisons that are failing, that are too big, when we could send people to rehab that costs less, we take from our kids, we take from our schools."
While reform will be long and complex, it is garnering support from key policy and lawmakers since the release of the NAACP's report. Some of the names ready to launch changes include Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, former speaker Newt Gingrich and Mike Jimenez, president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.