Misplaced Priorities: Philadelphia, PA
In Philadelphia, taxpayers spent nearly $290 million to imprison residents sentenced from just 11 of the city's neighborhoods. While these neighborhoods are home to just over one-quarter of the city's population, they account for more than half of the over $500 million dollars spent to imprison people sentenced in all of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia residents also foot two sets of incarceration bills that limit what they can spend on schools: as state taxpayers, residents of Philadelphia pay their portion of Pennsylvania's $1.6 billion state prison budget and city residents also pay $218 million to run a local jail.
Of the city's 35 lower performing schools, 23 (66 percent) are clustered in or very near neighborhoods with the highest rates of incarceration — where the biggest taxpayer investment is being made towards incarceration. By contrast, of Philadelphia's 28 higher performing schools, 21 (75 percent) are in neighborhoods with the lowest rates of incarceration.