The Truth about prison costs "vs." Education and Welfare costs…
Answer by Kris Rosvold:
Putting money into education and welfare vs. Imprisoning Citizens later in life because they have few options other than crime (excluding crimes of passion or insanity, which are a whole different issue) to pay for their needs.
State Incarceration, on average, costs $32k per year per inmate for the entire time the citizen is incarcerated. With the range varying between $14k and $60k. Note that this number is low, because it often doesn't include all the "hidden" costs like unfunded pensions for guards, medical costs for injured guards, and some administration costs.
Consider these expenses redirected towards education or basic social support so that these folks have a chance at a decent life without resorting to crime. For your average 3 year inmate, what kind of education and support during education, spent by society prior to their crime(s), would $93,000 buy?
I've talked extensively with several dozen inmates, as a part of taking AA meetings into jails, and every last one (other than those in for crimes of passion/mental illness) claims that lack of education and lack of valid, usable, options for supporting themselves is, or was, a major factor in their criminal history.
But, we've already known this for decades…