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Books not Bars is Right

The amount of formal education one obtains reflects a host of interrelated factors: economic advantage, parents’ education, neighborhood, public school quality, cost and access. And it is also related to violence well into adult years. Those age 25 and older with less than a high school education are nine times more likely to be murdered than those with a post-college degree (Figure 1). The gaps are especially pronounced when broken down by race (Table 1).

Sources: Center for Health Statistics (2015); Bureau of the Census (2015).

Sources: Center for Health Statistics (2015); Bureau of the Census (2015).

Three-fourths of all murders in California victimize those with a high school education or less. For Latinos, that proportion is 87 percent. For Asians and Latinos, those with the least education are five times more likely to be murdered than those with the most education; for Whites, 10 times; for Native Americans and other races, 14 times; for African Americans, 24 times.

Access to good secondary and higher education has the opposite effect from prison: it opens the pathways out of poverty and violence rather than closing them. Safety from murder is only one salient benefit. One of California’s most destructive policy moves was to slash education funding in favor of massive prison-building, a blunder for which the state’s poorest residents continue to suffer and which is now being reversed all too slowly.

Keywords: crime trends, Mike Males

Posted in Blog, Social Justice

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