NYC Inmates Cost Nearly $168K Per Year
That's almost as much as four years of Ivy League tuition
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2013 3:25 PM CDT
The Riker’s Island Penal Complex in New York’s East River is seen from the air in this undated photo.   (AP Photo/Julia Robertson)

(Newser) – In New York, the annual cost of one inmate is almost as much as four years of Ivy League tuition: $167,731. That's $460 per day for an average of 12,287 prisoners, and it's quite a bit higher than what other big cities spend: $47,063 a year in LA ($128.94 a day), $52,925 a year in Chicago ($145 a day). Why? Experts say Rikers Island is a big part of the reason; the 400-acre island costs hundreds of millions per year to run. The city's former correction commissioner says costs would come way down if Rikers was replaced with jails next door to courthouses ($30.3 million is spent each year on transportation alone), but no one wants to go that route.

"Have you seen a whole lot of outcry on [the $167,731 figure]? Why doesn't anything happen? Because nobody cares," he tells the AP. "That's the reason we have Rikers Island. We want these guys put away out of public view." Another problem: New York inmates sometimes wait years in city jails before going to trial. Last year, the average length of a stay for detainees was 53 days. For sentenced inmates, 38.6 days. And one last interesting note: Costs are going up even though incarceration rates are going down. In 2001, when there were 14,490 inmates, it cost just $92,500 to incarcerate one for a year at Rikers (about $122,155 in today's dollars).

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Oct 1, 2013 8:38 PM CDT
The Ju$tice $ystem is just a cash cow for shyster lawyers. That's been true since they started the lawyer ads on TV and billboards. There's no professionalism in the lawyers and legal system. It's who you are, how much justice you can afford.
Oct 1, 2013 8:34 AM CDT
Then they send to worst convicted violent offenders to 5 Points in the Finger Lakes,with 16% of the inmates being treated for mental health issues. Here they get a good education.. academic courses included Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Pre-General Equivalency Diploma (Pre-GED), and General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Vocational courses included appliance repair, building maintenance, cabinet making, millworking, custodial maintenance, general business, electrical trades, horticulture/ agriculture, small engine repair, masonry, and plumbing/heating. Ya- like I want them in my home. The worst part is, their criminal families get free bus tickets from the churches there, to move to the surrounding towns, and bum off the welfare system. The crime rates have more than doubled, without the financing to cover the police. You can see VERY unsavory Characters walking the highways day and night.
Sep 30, 2013 9:12 PM CDT
It's the very reason we need the Death Penalty back in NY! (That, and the fact that scumbags aren't afraid to commit heinous crimes)