Incarceration costs > Harvard tuition

JTH's picture
Rank: Senior Orangutan | banana points 477

In the State of California, incarceration costs are expected to reach $75,560 per inmate next year. That number is up 13% since 2015; California has been voting to reduce jail times and subsequently have less people in jail, but they haven't cleared out much of the overhead.

"Now that we're incarcerating less, we haven't ramped the system back down," said Chris Hoene, executive director of the left-leaning California Budget & Policy Center.

For example, the corrections department has one employee for every two inmates, compared with one employee for roughly every four inmates in 1994.

At the same time, California also plans to spend $11.4 billion on corrections for the next year, a new high. I'm from the Midwest, so I don't keep up with California at all, but I get the sense that there would be some amount of pushback if they tried to cut some of the fixed costs that could be scaled back (i.e. cutting unnecessary jobs). Do you think that California will be able to lower their costs per capita?