Prison spending in Colorado per inmate ranks the state 26th among U.S. states, yet still slightly below the national average.
In 2012, the cost per inmate in Colorado was $30,374 while the national average sat at $32,142. The states at either end of the spectrum during that year were Kentucky at $14,603 per inmate, while New York spent $60,076, according to the National Institute of Corrections
, which provides corrections statistics for all 50 states.
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Colorado’s overall corrections budget in 2012 was $585 million but the actual prison spending was slightly higher at $606 million, according to the Vera Institute of Justice
. The factors that went into this total were retiree heath care contributions of $3.2 million and statewide administration costs of about $2 million. Part of the cost came from health care for inmates, which The Pew Charitable Trusts reveals
was about $4,650 per inmate in 2011, about a 17 percent increase from 2007.
According to 2012 data from the Colorado Department of Corrections
, the per inmate cost has risen to about $31,440 with an incarceration population of about 22,000; however the budget for the DOC jumped to $1 billion. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities states
that correction spending “rose in every state except Virginia, by more than four times in nine states (Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) and by five times in three of those states (Colorado, Idaho, and Pennsylvania).” Yet, Colorado’s prison population declined for five straight years, from 2009 to 2014.
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The Denver Post reported
the Colorado Department of Corrections is actually looking to raise their budget even more, “asking for a 4 percent, $29 million budget increase for next year to $749 million.” This request has perplexed some since Colorado has closed several prisons and has fewer prisoners in costly solitary confinement. Yet, as The Denver Post explains, the Division of Criminal Justice and the Colorado Legislative Council predicted a 4 percent increase in Colorado’s prison population by 2017.
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