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January 26, 2012

"The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers"

The title of this post is the title of this important new (and relatively brief) report from the Vera Institute of Justice, which aspires to provide a complete picture of state prison costs to taxpayers.   Here is the text of the e-mail blast I received about the report:

A newly released study by a team of Vera researchers calculates—for the first time—the full cost of prisons to taxpayers, including costs outside states’ corrections budgets. The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers—published today—shows that in 40 participating states the aggregate cost of prisons in FY2010 was $38.8 billion, $5.4 billion more than their corrections budgets reflected.

Individually, states’ costs outside their corrections departments ranged from less than 1 percent of total prison costs in Arizona to as much as 34 percent in Connecticut.  Detailed fact sheets for each of the 40 participating states are available [at this link].

The Price of Prisons is a joint product of Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections and its Cost-Benefit Analysis Unit, and was conducted in partnership with the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States.

January 26, 2012 at 10:03 AM | Permalink


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Nearly 45,000 killed as a result of "violent criminals" since 2006.

That's what *lack* of incarceration costs taxpayers in Mexico.

Posted by: Adamakis | Jan 26, 2012 1:28:26 PM

well this this case below looks like it ran 11 million a year!


"A New Mexico man who said he was forced to pull his own tooth while in solitary confinement because he was denied access to a dentist has been awarded $22 million due to inhumane treatment by New Mexico's Dona Ana County Jail.

Stephen Slevin was arrested in August of 2005 for driving while intoxicated, then thrown in jail for two years. He was in solitary at Dona Ana County Jail for his entire sentence and basically forgotten about and never given a trial, he told NBC station KOB.com Tuesday night"

Posted by: rodsmith | Jan 26, 2012 1:41:36 PM

I don't know what this has to do with Mexico, but all other developed nations seem to be quite safe without the incarceration rates of the US.

Posted by: beth | Jan 26, 2012 6:59:21 PM

Talking about the costs of imprisonment without giving equal attention to the costs of the alternative (i.e., the rise in crime that is certain, over the long haul, to come about when more criminals are on the street) is dishonest. There's no polite way to put it.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 26, 2012 7:00:28 PM

Bill, I do try to be polite and don't want to be dishonest, but in the US we have about 1 in 100 citizens in jail and in most European countries it is about 1 in 1,000. Not that they are doing so well with their budgets, but it's hard to believe that we have ten fold more evil.

Just talking about the confinement - not even mentioning the law enforcement and prosecution we would save about 80 billion dollars per year. Were we to add in the cost of law enforcement and prosecution the savings would be much greater.

We do have lots of constituencies and interest groups who depend on that dollar, but perhaps they could be trained to work in the private sector.

Posted by: beth | Jan 26, 2012 9:41:57 PM

beth --

Although my comment followed yours, it was directed to the article Doug posted, not to you. I absolutely do not believe you are either impolite or dishonest, and I apologize if the timing of my comment made it seem otherwise. You are, to the contrary, one of the most courteous commenters on the blog.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 27, 2012 3:18:14 AM

Thanks Bill, NYU School of Law - Institute for Policy Integrity has a model for Cost Benefit Analysis. They factor in lower incarceration, cost to victims and the cost of alternative intervention. I think this was a model for states. You know, unless I know the protocol from start to finish - I have a hard time nailing it to the wall as a map for change. I guess I'm just a cynic.

I'm so seasoned, I also have trouble with crime statistics generally. A crime in the 60s was a different breed, eg. If one wasn't murdered or seriously injured, rape was a bad luck event, accidents were accidents - they did not involve law enforcement etc.

Posted by: beth | Jan 27, 2012 9:50:17 AM

"Rape was a bad luck" event?

Posted by: adamakis | Jan 27, 2012 11:49:18 AM

adamakis, I'm just telling you how it was. I'm not approving it. There was no reporting and law enforcement did not generally see it as a crime. Rape was really only seriously recognized after the women's movement. The victim generally didn't know that it wasn't her (or his) fault.

Posted by: beth | Jan 27, 2012 4:24:09 PM


If you believe that aliens abducted Elvis and taught him how to swing his hips as well, just let me know so I don't cast pearls before swine.

Perhaps you more mildly subscribe to the Fidel Castro, Howard Zinn, and Cindy Sheehan version of history, the "European Invasion of America" (1975), evolutionary critical Marxist critique of homophobia, racism, and sexism.

If the aforementioned is not intransigently imbedded in your mind, consider the following facts, but please forgive me if you’ve already read them:

I have researched colonial and historical English America, and women received
justice for rape from the outset. ::websites below::

A> “In 1786, fifteen-year-old Barbara Witmer suffered a horrific assault. A group of men kidnapped her from her Pennsylvania home at gunpoint, and one of these men repeatedly raped Barbara before her family and friends managed to rescue her…Eventually, six men were convicted in the attack. The man who had raped Barbara received a death sentence.” www.common-place.org

B> Historic justice for rape victims was due to the adherence of people to the straight teachings of the Bible, not in spite of their observance. In Virginia, “the notion of the law [w]as an arm of religious orthodoxy.” “In the Puritan north a religious message leaps out from almost every page of the early criminal codes.”--Crime and Punishment in American History (Lawrence M. Friedman)& --regarding sexual offenses--“A frank and robust sexuality leaps from the pages of the record books. Still . . . most people probably did not transgress.”

C> When the years 1955 and 1995 were compared for Rape 1 sentences, the average time served had gone from 15 to 6.

To wit, the 60s did not help, at least not the 1960s.

@ www.common-place.org; usatoday check out: http://www.mayflowerhistory.com/, www.history.org/,
http://www.earlyamericancrime.com/criminals/daniel-wilson, http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2536600318.html, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v23/n4/rape

Posted by: Adamakis | Jan 27, 2012 10:47:28 PM

It's not really the length of sentencing that is important - it's the % of raped women who actually report 1. is it investigated 2. is it prosecuted 3. are they convicted. I would say that between 55 and 95 the per cent of of women who reported, cases that were investigated, and cases prosecuted went up. The reporting of the assualt no longer requires that six men kidnap a woman at gunpoint and repeatedly rape her. The bar is much lower. A woman now has the option of reporting a date rape. Of course the sentence is not the same.

I didn't say that I approved of the fact that women had to consider it a "bad luck event" to be raped - I just stated it.

I'd be very interested in any statistics about the per cent of the female (or male) population that report rapes and how the reporting of it has increased or decreased between 1955 and 1995. Probably impossible statistics to extract, but they are pertinent

Posted by: beth | Jan 28, 2012 12:35:04 AM

Beth: Place a dollar value on a prevented rape. How much would you pay to not be raped, to the taxpayer, to the victim? Now multiply by 10/year. What is the value of not having a child sexually abused by the same? Multiply by 50 again. Add.

That is the benefit obtained by the cost of imprisoning a violent sex offender. Where is that value in your calculation?

Why on earth would feminists want to empty the prisons of people who will victimize females so badly, and so often?

They do not care about females. Theirs is a masking ideology, a Trojan Horse for the male lawyer hierarchy. They care about only one thing, growing the size and powers of government, a wholly owned subsidiary of the criminal cult enterprise that is the lawyer profession, now making 99% of its policy decisions.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 28, 2012 8:10:42 AM

Beth: The crime rate in the US among white people is lower than that of Europe. The black community has been targeted by the racist feminist lawyer for bastardy, for criminality, to generate massive government employment.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 28, 2012 8:14:03 AM

Rape is a bad luck event only in the tiniest number of cases of being ambushed by a stranger. The majority of rape victims are mentally ill or addicted, and spend a lot time in close physical proximity to males devoid of morals. As the number of lifetime rape victimizations increases that characteristic rises to nearly 100% for 3 victimizations. The prevention of rape requires a symmetrical approach of incarcerating the violent sex offender, and getting the victim treated for her pre-existing mental illness and addiction. Other approaches, such as advertising campaigns, and campus political correctness indoctrination sessions are naive.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 28, 2012 8:27:21 AM

::“adamakis, I'm just telling you how it was….There was *no reporting* and law enforcement DID NOT generally SEE IT AS A CRIME. Rape was really ONLY SERIOUSLY RECOGNIZED AFTER the women's movement. The victim generally didn't know that it wasn't her (or his) fault."

Beth, seriously, one doesn’t need to get swept up in nostalgia to realize the cosmic proportion of your historical distortions.

::“The reporting of the assualt no longer requires that six men kidnap a woman at gunpoint and repeatedly rape her.”

Never did, ever.

(1) We should all want women to report; Islamists and immoral primitivists do not.

(2) From time immemorial, underserved shame and very real pain have discouraged victims of sexual crime particularly, from coming forward.

(3) However, when one sees an increase in criminal reporting, could it not be an increase in actual criminal activity, or is it all or decisively due to a spike in reporting?

In 1961: 158 per 100,000 violent crimes or 289,390 within a population of 182,992,000;
in 2010: 404 per 100,000 violent crimes or 1,246,248 within a pop. of 308,745,538. _._._Greater than a 2.5x INcrease? So much for moral evolution.

1961: 9.4 per 100,000 forcible rapes or 17,220
2010: 27.5 per 100,000 forcible rapes or 84,767 .....http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

Do you really think the culture of America was transformed after “the 60s” so that women began reporting the types of crimes that had gone largely unreported for centuries? It couldn’t be family disintegration, urbanization and immigration without assimilation, decrease in traditional morality, legalization of previously illicit acts, an increase in painkillers and mood altering drugs?

“Under the Capital Laws of New-England…1636-1647..the death penalty was meted out for pre-meditated murder…rape, statutory rape,” (pbs.org)

_._ “On this day in 1675, in the then-Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony (now Essex County, Massachusetts), 27-year-old Samuel Guile was hanged for “violently and forcibly” raping Mary Ash on Christmas Day the previous year.”
_._ “On this date in 1777, crying out “Stand clear! Look to yourselves! I am the first hypocrite in Sion!”, a clerical schoolmaster was hanged at Tyburn for raping one of his charges.” .....www.executedtoday.com

Posted by: Adamakis | Jan 28, 2012 3:53:38 PM

Thanks for the statistics. They are really interesting. Yes, I do think that freedom to report and redefination of the crime has alot to do with the increase, but that's another topic. I like your research, thanks

Posted by: beth | Jan 28, 2012 4:45:53 PM

no problem

Posted by: Adamakis | Jan 28, 2012 9:29:53 PM

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