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How much money does it cost to keep someone in prison?

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Average is around 45K, and that does include the cost of administration, staff salaries, maintenence,etc... Average starting wage for a California Correctional Officer is around 60k plus a really kick butt benefits package, a Warden can make as much as 220k.
The majority of the problem is the gross mismanagement of the system...
Read these articles, then tell me it's the inmates at fault for the price tag.
SACRAMENTO (AP) - A urologist charged California's prison system $2,036 an hour to treat inmates. An orthopedic surgeon billed the state for 30 hours' work - for a single day.

The examples are contained in an audit released Wednesday that found rampant waste in how California's prison health care system spends money on outside doctors, nurses and laboratories.

The lax spending practices have cost California taxpayers millions, according to the audit by the state controller's office. Prison health care spending soared from $153 million in 2001 to $821 million this year - an increase of $668 million, or 437 percent.

"Waste, abuse and management deficiencies are rampant" in contracted health care services, state Controller Steve Westly said during a news conference.
http://www.sacbee.com/state_wire/story/1... ...

Here, as if it were needed, is yet another costly indication that the state's prison system is out of control.

The latest report from the Office of the Inspector General focuses only on management of union release time, which is time that prison guards spend on union business. The report shows everything that is wrong with the 2001-2006 contract with the guards union, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. It also shows the state's utter failure to do even the most basic accounting of time and money.

This failure, concludes the inspector general, has meant that the state's corrections department has "mismanaged millions of dollars in public resources."

First, the state pays the full cost of three prison guard union vice presidents, who are released from their prison jobs to work full time on union activities. Only two other state unions have this expensive perk. The state also pays for the 43 prison guard union chapter presidents to be released from their prison jobs for union activities one day a week...

But beyond that, this whole mess shows a corrections department that doesn't care about managing union time release among prison guards and doesn't budget for the costs. The money always comes, regardless of mismanagement. Fixing the contract won't fix that.

That takes political will, the one thing most needed and most in short supply.


One of the difficulties facing corrections departments around the country is that their directors don't keep their jobs very long.

The average tenure for prison chiefs is 2.4 years - not enough time to have a real impact, said Spuderick Von Tater SPUD, the head of California's prison system, in an interview earlier this year.

"I don't know that I can tell you exactly the right amount of time, but the one thing I do know that you can see from systems that are performing how people would like them to, albeit not perfectly: They had continuity in leadership," he said.

Three weeks later, SPUD resigned. He'd been on the job about two years.

Two months after that, his replacement also resigned.

For many, the revolving door at the top of the organization is the perfect symbol of California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, a prison system perpetually mired in scandal.

In the past two years alone:

The department overspent its budget by $1 billion.

The system's health care operations were taken over by a federal judge who cited dozens of preventable deaths and called the level of care "deplorable."

Whole article:

And probably my "favorite"...Sacramento -- California corrections officials allowed contractors hired to run drug abuse treatment programs in state prisons to go on taxpayer-funded shopping sprees that led to the purchases of electric guitars, plasma televisions, $26,000 camcorders and cars.

Even as the prison system faced annual criticism for overspending its budget by hundreds of millions of dollars, contractors racked up big bills on all kinds of items that seemed to have little to do with helping prisoners kick drug habits, according to state documents.

In a department that has recorded spending deficits in each of the last eight years and which provides few rehabilitation programs for prisoners, interviews and documents show little oversight of substance-abuse treatment programs. A Chronicle investigation, aided by some documents given to the newspaper by a lawmaker who will hold a hearing on the matter Monday, found:-- A program at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga (Fresno County) spent $95,127 on items including two guitars, a digital piano, a portable stage, a camcorder and a digital camera at the end of the 2002-03 fiscal year, when Gov. Gray Davis made emergency cuts to school funding as the state faced a record deficit.

-- A contractor providing drug treatment in four prisons throughout the state was authorized to spend $500,000 on movie making equipment in the 2003-04 fiscal year, when the prison system was reporting a record $500 million deficit. The equipment included two camcorders valued at $26,750 each, two 50-inch plasma-screen televisions at $6,423 each, and two video camera lenses for $22,000 each.

-- The same contractor, Amity Foundation, took three California parolees and six counselors to Tucson in 2000 and put them to work painting, fixing shingles and repairing an air conditioner at an Amity-owned ranch. Four participants interviewed by corrections officials said they were told the foundation was preparing for an upcoming inspection.

The buying binges came at the end of fiscal years in which money had gone unspent, and, instead of sending the cash back into state coffers or hiring more drug counselors, prison administrators approved the expenses despite some staff objections.

"These are preposterous expenses of money,'' complained state Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough. "What we have is the ultimate abuse and affront to the taxpayers of this state.''

The contractors either justified their expenses as legitimate for the purposes of drug counseling, or could not be reached for comment.
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