costs of inmates

Topics: Prison, Criminal justice, Corrections Pages: 9 (2338 words) Published: December 13, 2014
Califoria state university, long beach
Costs of Inmates in The U.S.
CRJU 303 Corrections

Lesley Chavarria

Throughout the correctional system, we hear about a lot of topics that bring controversy, or we hear about certain aspects of this system being implemented that we have little or no education on. In the long run, many of these implementations may affect us in a greater manner than we think, or they already may be. As taxpayers, we know that it is a mandatory for the well being of the country, but do we truly know what that money is being used for? Some of that money may go towards educating our young, some may go to bettering our roads, and some may go to defending our country. These are all well allocated funds that are being used, one that is not too appealing, is that of the price that government has to allocate to keep prisoners housed in correctional facilities. The problem isn’t that tax payer money is used for this but the amount that it is taking to do so, while not allowing other programs to be adequately funded. It is not the mere fact that our money is used to house inmates, at the end of the day it is our security, but it is the fact that, according to Vera Institute of Justice, on average at a national level it costs taxpayers over $39 billion to house inmates in the 40 states included in the study across the United States (2012). Now, those numbers change when it comes to maximum security. There have been significant changes in the housing of inmates over the last couple decades that come directly into play when it comes into the massive amount of money that we are investing in these inmates. There have been significant changes in the housing of inmates over the last couple decades that come directly into play when it comes into the massive amount of money that we are investing towards them. A few questions then arise, are we using our money wisely? Is the lifestyle that these inmates live too luxurious and costly? Finally, what can we do as a nation to further address the issue? In the following text, there will be detail given about the costs of housing inmates, the effects it has on our society, the approaches that have been made to address the issue, as well as what else can be done or considered to address the issue.

This ongoing issue affects us as a country in many ways. Economically, we are spending an enormous amount of money to house these inmates, yet there are other more important things that this money can be used for. The Vera Institute of Justice states that the expidentures of State Prisons have nearly quadrupled in the last two decades (2012). In California, according to Hawkins (2011): Los Angeles. California has the largest prison population in the country, with more than 170,000 individuals behind bars. In Los Angeles, more than half of current parolees live in neighborhoods that are home to less than 20 percent of the city's adult residents. More than a billion dollars are spent every year to incarcerate people from these communities. At the same time, as of spring 2010, the Los Angeles Unified School District was projecting a deficit of £640 million in the 2010-11 academic year. As a result, district officials were planning to raise class sizes and lay off thousands of teachers and other school-based staff. (para.6) Politically, it seems like the taxpayer is left with no say when it comes to really deciding what funds are being used towards, and in reality how much of these funds are being used. How many of these taxpayers are being educated and truly know that we as a nation are spending such a significant amount of money on prisons as opposed to the education of their children. As a nation, these funds can be used in many other areas that need just as much, if not more, attention than prisons and their prisoners. We are often complaining about our education and the budget cuts, or how about those roads filled with potholes? The changes in the...

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Hawkins, S. (2011, Jan). Education vs. incarceration. The American Prospect, 22, A18-A19. Retrieved from
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How much does it cost to incarcerate an inmate?. (n.d.). Leglislatives analyst 's office . Retrieved April 13, 2014, from
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Morris, R. , & Worrall, J. (2011). Inmate custody levels and prison rule violations. The Prison Journal,91(2), 131-157. (PEER-REVIEWED)
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