Most States In America Have More Prisons Than Colleges

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 14 Jun 2021 16:16
Most States In America Have More Prisons Than CollegesPA Images

Nearly 75% of US states offer more places for incarceration than they do higher education.

Recent data shows there are concerningly more prisons in the US than there are colleges, despite studies showing that those who go to college are less likely to end up behind bars.


Wyoming came bottom of the list, having 2,700% more prisons than colleges. Meanwhile, Mississippi had 92 prisons, compared to just 18 colleges. It also had an incarceration rate of 626 per 100,000 residents.

While Wyoming had the largest percentage difference, overall, Texas had the highest number of prisons at 313.

Person in handcuffs (Pexels)Pexels

On the other hand, Massachusetts, one of the country’s most educated states, had 88 colleges compared to 107 jails.


Meanwhile, California is the place to go if you’re looking for plenty of college options, as it boasts an impressive 280.

The data, put together by Studee, suggests that if more colleges were built across the country, incarceration rates would drop, as the level of educated citizens rose.

Explaining its methodology, Studee said:

We looked at official education attainment data from the census and incarceration rates from the National Institute of Corrections to see if there was a correlation between the number of people incarcerated in each state and the number of people who were educated to degree level or above.

The Palm Beach County Main Detention Center (PA)PA Images
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The university hunting website concluded that, in the majority of states, a lower rate of education to degree level correlated with a higher incarceration rate.

According to Studee, the US has more prisons, jails, and higher rates of incarceration than ‘any other country in the world,’ but also has one of the globe’s best education systems.

Previous studies have also shown a correlation between those who did not pursue higher education and higher levels of incarceration. However, not only can education prevent people from finding themselves behind bars, it can also reduce the chances of someone reoffending.

People throwing graduations caps (Pexels)Pexels

According to a study by the RAND Corporation in 2016, prisoners who took part in some kind of educational programme while serving their sentence were 43% less likely to return to prison.

In addition to this, prisons with college programmes were found to have less violence among incarcerated individuals, American Progress cites.

Featured Image Credits: PA Images


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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, Education, Now, Prisons, US News


Studee and 1 other
  1. Studee

    The US states with more places for incarceration than higher education

  2. American Progress

    Education Opportunities in Prison Are Key to Reducing Crime