Tags: Voting Rights | south carolina | prison | spending

How Much Does South Carolina Spend on Prisons?

By    |   Tuesday, 09 Feb 2016 03:37 PM

The South Carolina budget allots funds for state programs, including education, public assistance, Medicaid, transportation, and more. The cost for maintaining prisons is a significant part of every states budget, and in South Carolina, the funds exceed public assistance expenditures.

According to a report from the National Association of State Budget Officers, the total state government budget for South Carolina was about $21.4 billion in 2014, which represented a $770 million reduction from the previous year. Approximately 2.7 percent of the budget was dedicated to corrections, nearly $600 million annually. These rates reflect spending in 2013, and are representative of rates seen in recent years.

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Where do funds go? Spending in the Corrections Department includes about $200 million in salaries, $22 million in utilities. Also included are costs for several public assistance programs, such as providing meals, medical care, and funerals for inmates. Other operating costs include land, building, infrastructure, and construction of facilities, and various supplies. Running prisons is very costly and necessary.

When looking at the state's budget for the most recent years, funds are distributed to kindergarten through 12th grade education (15.9 percent), higher education (21.0), public assistance (.4 percent), Medicaid (21.7 percent), corrections (2.9 percent), transportation (6.6 percent), and other (31.7 percent). Items included as "other" included the Children's Health Insurance Program, care for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, public health, environmental projects, parks and recreation, and state police services.

Of course, eliminating the need for housing large numbers of criminals is the goal of every state, and revenues saved could go to other social programs, or to tax reductions. Obviously, the best way to lower prison costs in South Carolina is to reduce the crime rate. The state's overall crime rate is about 36 percent higher than other states, according to the National Institute of Corrections, when compared in respect to population figures. Property crimes make up 88 percent of crimes in the state, but violent crimes are 12 percent of the overall number in South Carolina. The violent crimes are 46 percent more frequent than seen in other states. Only New Mexico has higher rates in the country.

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The South Carolina budget allots funds for state programs, including education, public assistance, Medicaid, transportation, and more. The cost for maintaining prisons is a significant part of every states budget, and in South Carolina, the funds exceed public assistance expenditures.
south carolina, prison, spending
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2016-37-09
Tuesday, 09 Feb 2016 03:37 PM
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