The USA has more prisons, jails, and higher rates of incarceration than any other country in the world, despite boasting one of the best education systems.

Shockingly, Studee has discovered nearly 75% of states in the US have more prisons or jails than colleges in 2022.

We analyzed the number of people with a degree and compared it to the population incarcerated in each state. We found a strong correlation between states who have a higher proportion of people educated to degree level or above with the states who have low rates of incarceration.

The strong correlation of the data appears to suggest that if more colleges were built across the country, we could assume incarceration rates would drop, as the level of educated citizens rose.

## Worst offenders:

We’ve looked at each state and compared the number of colleges that offer degrees to places of incarceration. Our “worst offenders” are the states that have the greatest percentage difference between the number of colleges and the number of prisons and jails.

### Wyoming

With just 4 colleges compared to 28 prisons and jails, there’s a staggering 600% difference between the number of colleges that offer degrees and incarceration facilities.

- Incarceration facilities to college rate: 600% more jails/prisons
- Incarceration rate per 100k: 428
- Degree or above rate 100k: 26,893

### Mississippi

Mississippi has 18 colleges and 92 prisons and jails meaning there are 411% more jails and prisons in Mississippi than there are colleges.

- Incarceration facilities to college rate: 411% more jails/prisons
- Incarceration rate per 100k: 636
- Degree or above rate 100k: 21,670

### Alaska

With 27 prisons or jails and just 6 colleges, Alaska has 350% more places of incarceration than it does higher education.

- Incarceration facilities to college rate: 350% more jails/prisons
- Incarceration rate per 100k: 224
- Degree or above rate 100k: 28,372

### Alabama

Alabama has 35 colleges but 147 jails and prisons meaning there are 320% more places of incarceration than there are institutions to get a degree.

- Incarceration facilities to college rate: 320% more jails/prisons
- Incarceration rate per 100k: 419
- Degree or above rate 100k: 25,061

### Louisiana

Louisiana is home to 30 colleges and 120 jails or prisons, with a difference of 300% between them it is the 4th worst state in the country.

- Incarceration facilities to college rate: 300% more jails/prisons
- Incarceration rate per 100k: 680
- Degree or above rate 100k: 23,815

### Oklahoma

With 117 places of incarceration and just 31 colleges, there are 277% more jails and prisons than places where you can obtain a degree.

- Incarceration facilities to college rate: 277% more jails/prisons
- Incarceration rate per 100k: 639
- Degree or above rate 100k: 24,900

### Idaho

The state of Idaho has 254% more jails and prisons than colleges, with 13 institutions to earn a degree and 46 incarceration facilities.

- Incarceration facilities to college rate: 254% more jails/prisons
- Incarceration rate per 100k: 475
- Degree or above rate 100k: 27,270

### Arkansas

Arkansas is home to 27 colleges and 95 jails and prisons which means there are 252% more places to get incarcerated than get a degree.

- Incarceration facilities to college rate: 252% more jails/prisons
- Incarceration rate per 100k: 586
- Degree or above rate 100k: 22,833

### Nebraska

With the 9th biggest disparity between colleges and incarceration facilities, Nebraska has just 22 colleges where you can earn a bachelor's degree but has 73 jails or prisons 232% more.

- Incarceration facilities to college rate: 232% more jails/prisons
- Incarceration rate per 100k: 289
- Degree or above rate 100k: 31103

### Georgia

Georgia has 214% more jails and prisons than universities. It’s home to 69 colleges where you can earn a bachelor's degree and 217 jails or prisons.

- Incarceration facilities to college rate: 214% more jails/prisons
- Incarceration rate per 100k: 507
- Degree or above rate 100k: 30,696

States | Colleges | Jail/Prisons | % more prisons or jail to colleges |
---|---|---|---|

Wyoming | 4 | 28 | 600% |

Mississippi | 18 | 92 | 411% |

Alaska | 6 | 27 | 350% |

Alabama | 35 | 147 | 320% |

Louisiana | 30 | 120 | 300% |

Oklahoma | 31 | 117 | 277% |

Idaho | 13 | 46 | 254% |

Arkansas | 27 | 95 | 252% |

Nebraska | 22 | 73 | 232% |

Georgia | 69 | 217 | 214% |

Kansas | 34 | 106 | 212% |

Montana | 14 | 42 | 200% |

Iowa | 38 | 105 | 176% |

New Mexico | 15 | 39 | 160% |

Kentucky | 38 | 96 | 153% |

Nevada | 16 | 36 | 125% |

North Carolina | 73 | 157 | 115% |

Texas | 149 | 313 | 110% |

Tennessee | 61 | 123 | 102% |

Colorado | 41 | 81 | 98% |

Wisconsin | 51 | 100 | 96% |

South Dakota | 17 | 32 | 88% |

Missouri | 74 | 139 | 88% |

Indiana | 60 | 110 | 83% |

Minnesota | 51 | 92 | 80% |

North Dakota | 15 | 27 | 80% |

Florida | 129 | 230 | 78% |

Michigan | 61 | 108 | 77% |

South Carolina | 42 | 71 | 69% |

Oregon | 33 | 50 | 52% |

Maryland | 35 | 49 | 40% |

Utah | 21 | 29 | 38% |

Virginia | 71 | 97 | 37% |

Illinois | 98 | 120 | 22% |

Washington | 63 | 71 | 13% |

Ohio | 119 | 133 | 12% |

Arizona | 36 | 36 | 0% |

New Hampshire | 17 | 16 | -6% |

Maine | 21 | 19 | -10% |

West Virginia | 27 | 24 | -11% |

Hawaii | 10 | 8 | -20% |

Pennsylvania | 134 | 97 | -28% |

Delaware | 6 | 4 | -33% |

Rhode Island | 13 | 7 | -46% |

Vermont | 15 | 8 | -47% |

California | 280 | 147 | -48% |

Connecticut | 27 | 14 | -48% |

New York | 236 | 116 | -51% |

New Jersey | 63 | 28 | -56% |

Massachusetts | 87 | 35 | -60% |

## Most educated states

The state where most people are educated to a bachelors degree level or above is Massachusetts. It has a rate of 42,811 people with a degree per 100,000 of the population. Massachusetts has 87 colleges and 35 jails and prisons meaning there are 60% more colleges than jails and prisons.

## Most incarcerated states

The state with the highest number of incarcerations is Louisiana, it has an incarceration rate of 680 per 100,000 people. Louisiana also has the 5th biggest difference between the number of colleges and the number of jails and prisons at 300%.

## Most Prisons

Texas is home to the greatest number of prisons and jails in the USA. With 313 prisons it has 110% more places of incarceration than colleges.

## Most universities

California has 280 colleges where you can study for a degree and is one of the only states in the USA to have more colleges than prisons and jails with only 147.

## Incarceration rate “v” degree rate

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 a degree level or above.

We found a strong correlation** between the data as demonstrated in the chart below. As can be seen by the correlation line, in the majority of states, a lower rate of education to degree level correlates with a higher incarceration rate.

The above chart shows a strong correlation between states that have a greater number of people educated to a degree level or above and a lower number of people who are incarcerated per 100k of the population. Although some states break this trend, the data suggests a strong correlation and is true across the majority of states.

Due to the strong correlation between the number of people who hold degrees and the number of people incarcerated in each state it could be concluded that promoting higher education and creating more degree-offering institutions could help to reduce the number of people incarcerated.

**Methodology:**

Data collected July 2022

The number of jails and prisons: https://nicic.gov/state-statistics/2019/alabama-2019

The number of colleges that offer degrees: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=AL&l=93+94

Educational Attainment data was used to work out the number of people per 100k were educated to degree level or above in each state. To work out the number of people with a degree per 100k we summed the population of all over 18s in each state and divided it by the number of people educated to degree level or above.

The number of prisoners per 100k was taken from https://nicic.gov/state-statistics/2019/alabama-2019.

Spearman's Rho was used to show there was a “strong correlation” of 0.68 between the number of people who are educated to a degree level and the number of people who are incarcerated.

** A correlation of 0.68 - Spearman's Rho.