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by Peter Moskos

May 24, 2011

Where does that $50,000 go?

California spends more than $50,000 per prisoner. A few years ago, back when it only costs $49,000 to lock a person up for a year, Mother Jones did a breakdown of where that money goes:
Security: $20,429

Medical services: $7,669

Parole operations: $4,436

Facility operations: $3,938

Administration: $2,871

Psychiatric services: $1,403

Food: $1,377

Education: $687

Records: $513

Vocational education: $289

Inmate welfare fund: $282

Clothing: $152

Religion: $53

Activities: $23

Library: $23

Transportation: $15

Sources: Bureau of Justice Statistics; California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; National Association of State Budget Officers
And just think, if we cut all those "activities" and "libraries" we give to prisoners, we would be spending only $49,954 per prisoner per year.


Dana King said...

all I can say is, it's not worth the expense unless the guy is a danger to others. There must be other ways to handle most offenders. (I haven't read IN DEFENSE OF FLOGGING yet.)

Wayward4now said...

The actual purpose of a prison it to "break a person down to their core-being and then to rebuild them from the ground up." THAT would be the humane thing to do. The goal would be to teach empathy, so that the pain caused to others is personally felt. Then, you wouldn't cause pain to others.

Obviously that doesn't happen and the moral taxpayer is being cheated. It's the morally sick and spiritually bankrupt that applaud the notion that prison is for punishment. If you punish someone out of meanness, guess what comes back home? It's predicable.

But even the lash, if done out of compassion, allowing a first time offender to take his licks and go back to work after a couple of sick days off to recover, is FAR preferable than going to prison ...if nothing is to be done with you during that time. :) Ric