According to a report from the U.S. Department of Education, “from 1989–90 to 2012–13, state and local spending on corrections rose by 89 percent while state and local appropriations for higher education remained flat.” The report notes that “On average, state and local higher education funding per FTE student fell by 28 percent, while per capita spending on corrections increased by 44 percent.” While this matters for lots of reason, two in particular are highlighted in the report: adolescent African American males who never graduated high school are more likely to be incarcerated than land a job, and according to Lance and Moretti, “a 10 percent increase in high school graduation rates may result in a 9 percent decline in criminal arrest rates.”
Connecticut has seen a marked change in spending on state and local corrections versus higher education. Between 1990 and 2013, Connecticut’s per capita spending on higher education dropped by nearly 50% while its per capita spending on corrections increased by just over 50%. Put another way: in 1990, CT spent nearly $13000 per FTE student and in 2013 it spent only $8000. Between 1990 and 2013, spending per capita on corrections increased $151 to $229. As of 2014, CT had roughly 62,000 individuals under “correctional supervision,” of which just over 16000 were incarcerated. For context, the total population of Connecticut is just under three million adults.
Connecticut offers a number of paths for “lifestyle crimes” offenders that do not include incarceration. Two Community Courts, for example, offer and oversee community and social services to “help defendants take responsibility for their actions, and […] deal with the social issues that may be helping to cause their behavior.” Connecticut offers many diversionary programs, from accelerated rehabilitative services to school violence prevention programs. The governor has also pushed for his Second Chance program, which among other things reduced the sentence for possession of controlled substances to a misdemeanor and “establishe[d] an expedited parole process for nonviolent, no-victim offenses.” That program is underfunded and may be over-touted.
What happens when Justice-Involved Individuals apply to colleges and universities in CT is largely dependent on the institution. All four state universities make use of the Common Application, though some also offer alternatives, too. UCONN makes use of it as well, but also uses the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success application, which, according to Inside Higher Ed, asks similar questions about students’ criminal records, but also informs students that they can explain their answers.
 State and Local Expenditures on Corrections and Education. Available at: http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/other/expenditures-corrections-education/brief.pdf
 Lochner, Lance, and Enrico Moretti. 2004. “The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports.” The American Economic Review 94(1): 155–189.
 State and Local Expenditures on Corrections and Education.
 Correctional Populations in the United States, 2014. Available at: http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=5519
 A Guide to Special Sessions & Diversionary Programs in Connecticut. Available at: jud.ct.gov/Publications/cr137P.pdf
 See http://www.courant.com/opinion/op-ed/hc-op-rennie-malloy-wrong-on-second-chance-0222-20150219-column.html
 Coalition Application on Gender, Criminal Records. Available at: https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2016/08/01/coalition-application-gender-criminal-records