The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers

Source: Christian Henrichson, Ruth Delaney, VERA Institute of Justice, January 2012

From the press release:
State taxpayers pay, on average, 14 percent more on prisons than corrections department budgets reflect, according to a report released today by the Vera Institute of Justice. The report, The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers–published today–shows that in 40 states that participated, the aggregate cost of prisons in FY2010 was $38.8 billion, $5.4 billion more than their corrections budgets reflected. When all costs are considered, the annual average taxpayer cost in these states was $31,166 per inmate.

While it is common knowledge that some prison costs are tracked outside corrections budgets, The Price of Prisons marks the first time these costs have been quantified for prisons across the states. To calculate the total price of prisons, Vera developed a survey tool that tallied costs outside corrections budgets. The most common of these costs were fringe benefits, underfunded contributions for corrections employees’ pension and retiree health care plans, inmate health care, capital projects, legal costs, and inmate education and training.
See also:
The Price of Prisons: 40 state fact sheets

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