It from articles, and research was done on

It is Morally repugnant and a national tragedy that we have privatized prisons all over America. In my view, corporation should not be allowed to make a profit by building more jails and keeping more Americans behind bars. We have got to end the private-for-profit prison racket in America!

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

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            State corrections budgets have nearly quadrupled in the past two decades—yet the true taxpayer cost of prison reaches far beyond these numbers. State corrections budgets often fail to reflect certain costs— such as employee benefits, capital costs, in-prison education services, or hospital care for inmates—covered by other government agencies. What are the economic aspects of incarceration? How are they affected? And what is behind all the costs? Should prisons be run by the state or should they become of private institutions? The aim of the assignment is to identify the exact costs of inmates in prison. This is done by showing statistics of the inmates, labour, and treatments. These statistics and values will be provided from articles, and research was done on the matter, which I believe that will give a better understanding of how the costs are being spared.


            The main reason for housing prisoners in private facilities is to reduce the government’s cost of incarceration. Critics for-profit prisons claim that these services do not provide the same quality of care and supervision, educational, recreational, and rehab services as the public -run prisons.


            There are 3,365 prisons in the US. Most prisons are small, designed to hold 50 or fewer inmates. Some prisons are huge like in Los Angeles and New York City. There are 207,600 correctional officers. The ratio of inmate to staff is 3:1. According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, the average cost for a person in prison for a year is $14,500. The biggest expense to run a prison is labour, therefore, the prison guards. Prison Guards are expensive to maintain, therefore any steps that reduce the inmate population can save on personnel costs. According to the Vera Institute of Justice from the early 1970s into the 2000s, the US prison population experienced unprecedented growth, which had a direct influence on state budgets. In recent years, however, lawmakers in nearly every state and from across the political spectrum have enacted new laws to reduce prison populations and spending.

According to the Governing the States and Localities (Pew report), in 2007, Texas was projecting a growth in its already crowded prison system, but instead of expanding prison capacity, it sought to boost alternative programs for low-risk offenders, especially those who abuse from substance. Rather than spending nearly $2 billion on new prison construction and operations to accommodate this growth, policymakers reinvested a fraction of this amount which is $241 million, in a network of residential and community-based treatment and diversion programs.

 In 13 states where the prison population has declined since 2010, total prison costs declined by $1.6 billion.


In 10 states where the prison population has declined since 2010, total prison costs increased $1.1 billion.


In 15 states where the prison population has increased since 2010, total prisons cost increased $508 million.



In 7 states where the prison population has increased since 2010, total prison costs declined $254 million.



According to the NC Public Safety, in 2016, these are the costs of prison incarceration in North Carolina.

Cost of Prison Incarceration
for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016


Daily cost per inmate

Yearly cost per inmate

Minimum Custody



Medium Custody



Close Custody






According to the NC Public Safety, in 2016, these are the costs of Community Supervision in North Carolina.

Cost of Community Supervision
for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016


daily cost per offender

yearly cost per offender

Probation / parole supervision



Community Based Programs (RRS/Transitional Housing)



 Drug Screening
(Cost per sample)

  $1.69 each hand-held/on-site test

Electronic Monitoring andGPS




According to the NC Public Safety, in 2016, these are the costs of Substance Abuse Treatment

Cost of Substance Abuse Treatment
for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016


daily cost per offender

In-prison treatment


DART-Cherry – Male probationers/parolees


Black Mountain Substance Abuse Treatment Center for Women



            According to The Telegraph in 2015, compared with most other western European neighbours spending on prisons is higher in England and Wales, this is due to inmates with life-sentences and rapists.

Taxpayers in England and Wales are paying more to run prisons than most other major countries in western Europe. Expenditure was at £87 (€117) a day in 2012, £15 higher than the European average of £72 (€97) a day per prisoner.

            In comparison, Spain spent £39 (€53), Portugal £30 (€40), France £72 (€97), and Austria £79 (€107). Germany’s figure was a few pence per day below England and Wales.

            In eastern Europe, spending levels were far lower, with Croatia spending £5.50 (€7.50) a day, Lithuania £9 (€12.50) and Poland £14 (€19). Greece spent just £2.36 (€3.2) per day on its jails and Russia just €2.17, or £1.60 at current rates.

            The official study, compiled by the University of Lausanne for the Council of Europe, found that in total, European countries spent £18.9 billion (€25.4 billion) on jails in 2013, with 1.67 million inmates incarcerated.  Nordic countries spent more on prisons than Britain, with Sweden’s figure at £234 (€317), Norway at £209 (€283), Denmark £138 (€186) and Finland £124 (€167). Italy spent £95 (€128).

            The study also found that prisons in England have three times as many life-sentenced prisoners than the European average. In England and Wales, 10.7% of inmates were serving life, compared with a Europe-wide average of 3.1%, while in Northern Ireland the figure was 14.1% and in Scotland 15.4%. Only one other EU country – Greece – had a double-digit lifer population, with 10.4%.

Jails in England and Wales also house a higher proportion of rapists than anywhere else in the European Union, at 7.6% of the jail population (D. Barret, 2015).

            Operating a safe, secure, humane, and well-programmed prison can’t be done cheap. Prisons are, as sociologists say, “total institutions” that provide everything necessary for inmates to live there, therefore some for the rest of their lives. That includes adequate levels of uniformed security staff 24 hours a day, food, programming, recreational and educational opportunities, infrastructure maintenance and upkeep, and increasingly significant higher levels of health care for a population with significant levels of physical and mental illness. In this field then, the primary goal is not necessarily to have low per-inmate costs. In fact, states that have very low per-inmate costs should examine carefully what functions of a good prison may not be being provided adequately. For instance, mental health care for this population is both expensive and crucial, therefore not only for the safety of inmates and prison staff but ultimately for public safety as well. State officials looking to reduce prison expenditures can get only so far by cutting down expense per-inmate costs. Far bigger savings can come from proven steps that reserve incarceration for those who most warrant it and reduce prison populations by developing lower-cost alternatives for others.           

            As states continue to deal with unprecedented fiscal strain, most are taking steps to reduce their inmate populations and costs while protecting public safety and holding offenders accountable. Because the size of the inmate population is determined by two factor, therefore the number of admissions and length of stay, has the largest impact on prison budgets that comes from changing sentencing and release policies. In recent years, some states have changed these policies enough to close parts of facilities or entire prisons, an essential step toward cost savings. The only way for states to decrease their prison budgets substantially is to reduce the inmate population and then reduce the operating capacity and related costs.

            Texas is taking steps to improve re-entry for departing inmates to reduce recidivism. According to a report from the Vera Institute of Justice, “Legislation in 2009 (HB 1711) requires the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to establish a comprehensive re-entry plan for people leaving correctional facilities. The goal is to reduce recidivism and ensure the successful reentry and reintegration of inmates into the community.”

            The high cost of incarceration is spurring new thinking around every aspect of prison policy. For example, roughly one-fourth of all inmates are nonviolent drug offenders. In 2009, Massachusetts decriminalized the possession of small quantities of marijuana, and more states are mulling similar changes.

            For new governors facing a rising tide of red ink, corrections may offer an area where innovation can provide better, faster and cheaper ways of keeping offenders in check. A variety of strategies offer possibilities to save money without sacrificing public safety.

            In the current fiscal climate, states are increasingly forced to do more with less and make difficult decisions about competing priorities. Policymakers must have complete information to make the best decisions possible. They must understand the full financial implications of their policy choices, particularly those related to the criminal justice system, whose costs make up a significant part of every state budget.

            A growing body of research suggests that government officials acknowledge and that beyond a certain point, further increases in incarceration have significantly diminishing returns as a means of making communities safer. This means that for many systems, putting more lower-risk offenders in prison is yielding increasingly smaller improvements in public safety and may cost more to taxpayers than the value of the crime it prevents. As states look to strike a balance that results in better outcomes, it is essential to assess the benefits and costs of incarceration.