In 2011, Wisconsin state spending quietly hit a milestone: For the first time, the state budgeted more taxpayer dollars for prisons and correctional facilities than for the University of Wisconsin System.
For 2011-'13, Gov. Scott Walker and GOP lawmakers allotted just under $2.1 billion to the state's public universities and $2.25 billion to the Department of Corrections. It's a gap that is unlikely to close any time soon.
Of course it costs more to house a prisoner for a year than two semesters worth of tuition.