U.S. Department of Justice

The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers [and] The Price of Prisons: 40 State Fact Sheets

Publication year: 2012 | Cataloged on: Jan. 26, 2012
Thumbnail preview ANNOTATION: This website provides a look at the direct cost of state prisons to taxpayers. A report is presented from a study in which prison costs are analyzed by state according to: the number of prison costs that are outside the corrections budgets—costs budgeted centrally for administrative purposes, inmate services funded through other agencies, and underfunded contributions for retirement benefits; the total taxpayer cost of prisons; and the total taxpayer cost per inmate. Collateral costs or indirect costs associated with inmates are not included in the totals but are briefly described. “While it is essential to recognize the full amount a state spends on its prisons, it is also important to recognize that officials are responsible for ensuring their prisons are safe, secure, and humane—a necessarily expensive undertaking. The temptation to compare states’ per-inmate spending should therefore be avoided, as low per-inmate costs may invite poorer outcomes in terms of safety and recidivism” (p. i).
This website also provides access to “The Price of Prisons: 40 State Fact Sheets” which supply key findings and taxpayer costs (dollars in millions) for 40 states determined during the study. These are available in a document with all 40 of the fact sheets or by each state individually.
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