In a state which ranks fifth in the country in per capita wealth, Maryland’s expenditures on higher education are not even in the top half of American states. In fact, in 1997, Maryland ranked 33rd in unversity funding, barely above the bottom third of all states. Maryland ranked dead last amongst Souther states in percentages of state tax revenues appropriated to higher education in 1997, behind states such as Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama. This disconnect between political rhetoric and funding reality is difficult to reconcile until juxtaposed against one of the state’s faster growing departments–prisons. When university and prison expenditure are contrasted, it is clear that prison growth has come at the expense of Maryland’s system of higher education.