State Budgets

Changing Priorities: State Criminal Justice Reforms and Investments in Education

Most states’ prison populations are at historic highs after decades of extraordinary growth. This rapid growth has been costly.

Even as states spend more on corrections, they are underinvesting in educating children and young adults, especially those in high-poverty neighborhoods.

State economies would be much stronger over time if states invested more in education and other areas that can boost long-term economic growth and less in maintaining extremely high prison populations. Read more

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More: State Budget and Tax Analyses

The Legacy of Welfare Reform

TANF Cash Benefits Have Fallen by More Than 20 Percent in Most States and Continue to Erode

Cash assistance benefits for the nation’s poorest families with children fell again in purchasing power in 2014 and are now at least 20 percent below their 1996 levels in 38 states, after adjusting for inflation.

TANF benefits leave family incomes below half of the poverty line in every state. Read more

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