I think that there should be some level of analysis behind what the statistics of building prisons reflects in American society. I think that this is where the some of the social implications of prison building are evident. For example, in the state of California, the building and development of prisons carries with it profound social implications. Consider the following statistics to demonstrate this point:
There is a disturbing, inverse relationship to public education and the number of people locked up in cages: our prison population and budget has skyrocketed, while the amount of spending on public education has plummeted. Spending on prisons has grown 1500% since 1980, while higher education spending has dropped. Since 1980, our state built 1 university and 20 prisons. K-12 faced a 10.5% cut in 2009-2010, and per pupil spending has steadily decreased since 1980.
This is an astounding social implication of the prison being viewed as the dominant correctional institution in the state of California, and in the United States, in general. As the desire for punishment and a narrow understanding of it has increased, the development and building of prisons has increased. Private businesses have seized upon this as fuel to increase this trend, while public funding of education has been slashed as public sector funding has decreased. The lack of seeking other alternatives to rehabilitation as well as the desire to feed a punitive streak has made the prison as the dominant correctional institution of the United States. A nation that has been so traditionally associated with freedom and opportunity is one that is also a world leader in the building of prisons and a decrease in public education funding; this becomes one of the profound social implications as the prison as the dominant correctional institution in the United States.