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September 17, 2011

The exact price of federal confinement in FY 2010

A helpful e-mail alerted me to this page of the Federal Register putting a precise dollar figure for federal confinement last year as calculated by the US Bureau of Prisons:

The fee to cover the average cost of incarceration for Federal inmates in Fiscal Year 2010 was $28,284.  The average annual cost to confine an inmate in a Community Corrections Center for Fiscal Year 2010 was $25,838....

We calculate this fee by dividing the number representing Bureau facilities’ monetary obligation (excluding activation costs) by the number of inmate-days incurred for the preceding fiscal year, and then by multiplying the quotient by 365.

September 17, 2011 at 02:17 PM | Permalink


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Spend $26,000 a year, save $millions in damage to entire neighborhoods, by loosing these vicious, ultra-violent predators. Their non-violent pled convictions have nothing to to do with their ultra-violent backgrounds. This is one of the greatest ROI on earth. You could buy a gun, rob a bank ,and have a lower ROI.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 17, 2011 4:00:15 PM

That number probably consists mostly of fixed costs (rather than variable costs), so the easiest way to lower it is to add more prisoners :)

I'll keep that retort that in mind in case anyone quotes this number to me indignantly.

Posted by: Andrew Gradman | Sep 19, 2011 5:16:52 AM

@Supremacy Claus:
I doubt one criminal causes millions of dollars in damages to entire neighborhoods. And yet, it would only take forty criminals to equate to $1mm in costs.
I wonder if one criminal typically does even enough damage to equate to the $29k.

Nonetheless, the advantages of discouraging future conduct by other people is potentially that much. Interesting problem.

How about indentured servitude while in the prison? Teach them a skill they can use when they get out and maintain the public highways, create public trails, etc... Now THAT may be worth the $29k per year.

Posted by: Lawyer in Texas | Feb 13, 2012 4:51:06 PM

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