The Vera Institute of Justice recently published some staggering prison expenditure numbers. In Illinois during fiscal year 2010, the Dept. of Corrections spent nearly $1.2 billion on prisons. However, the State also had $566.1 million in prison related costs outside the formal DOC budget. The total cost of IL prisons – to incarcerate an average daily population of 45,551 – was therefore more than $1.7 billion of which 32.5 were costs outside the IDOC budget. This figure accounts for expenditures in all areas of government that support the prison system. The additional costs to taxpayers can include centralized expenses for administrative purposes and services for inmates funded through other State agencies. Prison costs also include the cost of underfunded contributions to corrections employees’ pensions and retiree health care plans. Specific examples: the State paid $163.8 million on health insurance for corrections employees and $64.8 million on debt service for IDOC’s capital assets. Just think what a small portion of these funds could do to help prepare people for work and to subsidize their “related” costs such as child care while a parent is working or looking for work.
News & Views
Posted April 25th, 2012