California Spends Six Times More On Prison Inmates Than On College Students | CNN’s Fareed Zakaria took on the issue of criminal justice reform on his show, Fareed Zakaria GPS, this weekend, highlighting that 760 of every 100,000 Americans is incarcerated, more than seven times the incarceration rates for most European countries. Those high incarceration rates have forced states across the country to spend more on prisons than they do on education. California, for instance, spent $9.6 billion on prisons in 2011 but just $5.7 billion on higher education. The state spends $8,667 per student, per year compared to roughly $50,000 per inmate, per year. In the last 30 years, Zakaria noted, California has built 20 new prisons and just one new college campus.