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August 26, 2013

Might NYC save money sending folks to The Plaza instead of the pokey?

PLAZA-NY2The silly question in the title of this post was my first reaction to this recent piece in the New York Times headlined "City’s Annual Cost Per Inmate Is $168,000, Study Finds."  Here are the pricey details:

New York City is an expensive place to live for just about everyone, including prisoners. The city paid $167,731 to feed, house and guard each inmate last year, according to a study the Independent Budget Office released [last] week.

“It is troubling in both human terms and financial terms,” Doug Turetsky, the chief of staff for the budget office, said on Friday. With 12,287 inmates shuffling through city jails last year, he said, “it is a significant cost to the city.”

Mr. Turetsky added that he was not aware of any previous studies that broke down the cost per inmate in the jails, but there have been national studies.

And by nearly any measure, New York City spends more than every other state or city. The Vera Institute of Justice released a study in 2012 that found the aggregate cost of prisons in 2010 in the 40 states that participated was $39 billion. The annual average taxpayer cost in these states was $31,286 per inmate.

New York State was the most expensive, with an average cost of $60,000 per prison inmate. The cost of incarcerating people in New York City’s jails is nearly three times as much.

Michael P. Jacobson, the director of the City University of New York Institute for State and Local Governance and a former city correction and probation commissioner, said part of the reason the city’s cost was so high was because it had a richly staffed system.  “The inmate-to-staff ratio probably hovers around two prisoners for every guard,” he said. The budget office said 83 percent of the expense per prisoner came from wages, benefits for staff and pension costs.

Mr. Jacobson noted the success in bringing down the city’s jail population — from a peak of about 23,000 in 1993 to about 12,000 people today — but said the fixed costs were not likely to go down soon.  Still, he said, there were things that could be done to save money, like reducing the amount of time people sat in jail awaiting trial. Some 76 percent of the inmates in the city were waiting for their cases to be disposed, according to the budget office.

In other words, New York City is spending, on average, nearly $450 per jail inmate per day.  I know it costs more that this to get a room at The Plaza most times (not to mention the cost of room service), but I have to think some kind of group discount rate might be arranged.  Jokes aside, these are really eye-popping numbers and now I better understand why the toll roads and bridges in NYC seem to go up a few more dollars every time I visit.

August 26, 2013 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

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Comments

NYC is a strange place. At the hotel, I asked a person at the front desk where a certain office building was on Third Avenue. "Turdy turd and a turd", he says. Then he pointed on the map: 33rd Street and 3rd Avenue. There were hundreds of cops on the streets keeping the crime down. Everywhere you went there were city employees of some bent. I can not understand why the media locates their television stations for national news and infortainment in New York. I am sick of hearing the likes of Jay Leno and Mayor Bloomberg.

Posted by: Liberty1st1st | Aug 27, 2013 8:07:27 AM

LOL typical govt fucktards.

The problem is looking them right in the face.

"The budget office said 83 percent of the expense per prisoner came from wages, benefits for staff and pension costs."

and

"The inmate-to-staff ratio probably hovers around two prisoners for every guard"

Solution

fire every 3rd individual on staff to start. If that doesn't bring the numbers in line. Line em up and do it again.

Posted by: rodsmith | Aug 27, 2013 12:22:06 PM

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