Pubdate: Mon, 07 Jul 2003
Source: Press Journal (FL)
Copyright: 2003, The E.W. Scripps Co.
Author: Pam Commerford, Vero Beach


In a recent Press Journal article, "New school could be in future," Greg 
Smith, assistant superintendent of operations, notes, "About $338,000 is 
being spent this year to get portables and equip them to be used as 

Also included were comments from others on whether the need exists, or when 
it may exist in the future.

Elsewhere in the same edition, we read, "Inmates straining cash- strapped 
governments." In that article, we learn, "In Florida, there were 75,210 
prisoners under the jurisdiction of state or federal correctional 
authorities at the end of 2002," an increase of 3.9 percent in one year.

Included are costs of $20,000 per inmate per year and construction costs of 
about $100,000 per cell. (Doing the math, $20,000 x 75,210 = $1,504,200,000.)

What would happen if we spent $100,000 to build a classroom instead a 
prison cell? What would happen if, instead of $20,000 to house inmates, 
some money were earmarked for rehabilitation instead of the current system 
solely designed for confinement?

Our society professes to care about education and lacks compassion for 
inmates. Actions speak louder than words. If more were spent on education, 
perhaps less would be needed for prisons. Or maybe the two issues aren't 
related at all.
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