We’re all aware that if you want to reside in the city of big dreams, you got to have a substantial amount of money set aside to do so. New York City is plain ole expensive, so if you want to live lavish, well, good luck. And if you also want to know just where that tax payer money is going to, um, have a seat and let’s break it down. According to studies, NYC is paying on an average [$167,731] to feed, house and guard a prisoner (as per the Independent Budget Office released this week). What in the God’s name…
A lengthy excerpt here:
“It is troubling in both human terms and financial terms,” Doug Turetsky, the chief of staff for the budget office, said on Friday. With 12,287 inmates shuffling through city jails last year, he said, “it is a significant cost to the city.”
Mr. Turetsky added that he was not aware of any previous studies that broke down the cost per inmate in the jails, but there have been national studies.
And by nearly any measure, New York City spends more than every other state or city.
The Vera Institute of Justice released a study in 2012 that found the aggregate cost of prisons in 2010 in the 40 states that participated was $39 billion.
The annual average taxpayer cost in these states was $31,286 per inmate.
New York State was the most expensive, with an average cost of $60,000 per prison inmate.
The cost of incarcerating people in New York City’s jails is nearly three times as much.
Michael P. Jacobson, the director of the City University of New York Institute for State and Local Governance and a former city correction and probation commissioner, said part of the reason the city’s cost was so high was because it had a richly staffed system. “The inmate-to-staff ratio probably hovers around two prisoners for every guard,” he said.
The budget office said 83 percent of the expense per prisoner came from wages, benefits for staff and pension costs.
Mr. Jacobson noted the success in bringing down the city’s jail population — from a peak of about 23,000 in 1993 to about 12,000 people today — but said the fixed costs were not likely to go down soon.
Still, he said, there were things that could be done to save money, like reducing the amount of time people sat in jail awaiting trial. Some 76 percent of the inmates in the city were waiting for their cases to be disposed, according to the budget office.
The wait times have grown even as the number of felonies committed in the city has declined.