Recent reports show that New York City spends as much per inmate every year as someone would spend to go to an Ivy League school, in total, for four years.
A study conducted by NYC’s Independent Budget Office, or IBO, found that an astounding $167,731 a year is spent on each individual inmate. The problem, experts say, lies almost entirely on Riker’s Island. The cost to keep open a prison that’s on its own island is outrageous. On average, it comes to about $460 a day per inmate in the entire city, and with over 12,000 inmates total, that’s a hefty bill.
Doug Turetsky of the IBO says that the extremely high cost to house inmates affects NYC residents, in regards to their taxes.
“The numbers provide a troubling statistical portrait of the more than 12,000 people in our city jails on a typical day last year,” said Turetsky to the New York Post, “coming at a significant fiscal cost to the city and no doubt great social cost to families and communities.”
Studies also show that even though the number of inmates has gone down annually, the cost per inmate continues to rise. Experts say that, among other things, the high cost to house inmates has a lot to do with how long a prisoner stays in the system. Michael Jacobson, Director of the CUNY Institute for State and Local Government, said to Fox News that improvements need to be made to the prison system as a whole in order to cut down on costs.
"Not only is that a miscarriage of justice, it affects your operations," said Jacobson. "You want to save big money? Take a quarter out just by improving the process they go through when they're in the system."
New York City appears to have the highest annual cost per inmate out of all the other major cities in the country.