Admittedly, that's a strange combination, but it all comes down to the New Jersey taxpayer. You and me.

Earlier this week, I needed some truly mindless entertainment, before turning in for the night.  While this is not unusual, I happened to stop at Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim."  This is the last place I thought I'd actually learn something.  Lately, the creative types at CN have been using their commercial bumpers to comment on current events, in a rather sarcastic manner, in 5 seconds or less.

While the wording may not be exact, here's what caught my attention: Cost of a year's tuition at Princeton University: $37,000.  Taxpayer cost per inmate in New Jersey: $44,000.

Technically, Cartoon Network is correct.  The official Princeton University site lists tuition at $37,000.  State Corrections figures estimate the cost of housing a single inmate at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton at $44,734.

A more indepth look at college versus prison expenses, shifts the outcome in this case.  Let's face it, while prison time cost is largely based on room and board, listing tuition as the sole college cost isn't realistic.

At "Old Nassau," the room charge adds $6,500 to your bill.  The "board rate" (meal plan) adds another $5,400.  Then, there are miscellaneous charges that could tack on another $3,600 per year.  Don't have health coverage? You must buy a student health plan at $1,600 per year.  Don't live in New Jersey (or nearby)?  Don't forget your travel expenses!  Bottom line:  The average bill issued by Princeton University (which can be paid in monthly installments for your convenience) is $49,934.  The school admits that total can zoom upwards of $52,670 when you factor in books and other expenses.  Oh, and "university charges are likely to increase modestly for 2012-2013."

To be fair, the average per year cost for an in-state undergrad at Rutgers University is $24,017.  And, that includes room and board fees.  Go RU!

And all of this is "cheap" in comparison to housing a single sex offender at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center:  $54,427.

Any way you look at it, putting the bad guys (and girls) away in New Jersey isn't cheap.  And, neither is college tuition.  Adding in room and board leaves plenty of food for thought.  Thanks, Cartoon Network.  I think.

Your thoughts below.