One possible takeaway is that states keeping more inmates in prisons and jails than people in college housing arguably have poor priorities. College is still a great investment, with multiplestudiesshowing higher education significantly increases people's wages and economic output. Mass incarceration in the US long ago hit diminishing returns that make it an ineffective crime-fighting tool; an analysis by the PewPublic Safety Performance Project found that the 10 states that shrunk incarceration rates the most over the past five years saw bigger drops in crime than the 10 states where incarceration rates most grew.
But the map doesn't show that there are fewer people in college than jail and prison. The entire US corrections population, which includes people in jail, prison, parole, and probation, totaled 6.9 million in 2013. In comparison, about 19.5 million people were enrolled for college that same year — but most students live off-campus.
So while criminal justice experts generally agree it's long past time to reduce the number of Americans in jails and prisons, the map isn't a perfect comparison. But it at least shows the US has a lot of jail and prison inmates.
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."