Tags: Voting Rights | inmate | prison | costs | maryland

What Are Prison Costs Per Inmate in Maryland?

By    |   Tuesday, 29 Dec 2015 05:27 PM

Average inmate costs in Maryland were $38,383 per prisoner as of 2012, based on a survey conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice, which collected and analyzed data from prisons in 40 states throughout the nation.

There were more than 21,000 inmates in Maryland prisons at the end of 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, and taxpayers are responsible for the inmate costs for those serving time.

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The average cost per inmate covers more than meals, clothing, and shelter for the daily population of inmates serving time for a variety of crimes. Part of that overall per-inmate breakdown includes budget items from the Maryland Division of Correction and well as costs picked up from other state agencies.

For example, in 2010, the state had to cover $11.4 million, plus interest, in underfunded pension contributions for corrections employees’ benefits. The state also had to pay for underfunded retiree health care contributions, to the tune of $55.5 million plus interest, as well as $10 million in capital costs.

Inmates receive education and training while in prison, so the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation paid $17.3 million for such programs, and the Division of Parole and Probation paid an additional $2.7 million for contracted pre-release facilities.

In total, that $38,383 per inmate equals a total state cost of $836.2 million, according to the Vera Institute findings.

That high figure — less than the $24,587 it costs a state resident to attend the University of Maryland and also pay for dorm costs, a meal plan, books, transportation, and fees — is one reason why the Baltimore Sun in 2011 called for a plan to reduce the prison population.

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The Sun reported in a 2011 editorial that the state's prison population has tripled since 1970 and the crime rate has increased. Part of the reason for the large number of inmates, the editorial board wrote, is because of mandatory sentencing, which average about seven years, for often minor drug offenses.

Still, other taxpayers believe that the cost of inmates is well worth it to keep violent criminals off the streets, and in an institution that can both punish and reform residents so they can get back on the path toward becoming citizens with jobs who, then, can also pay taxes.

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Average inmate costs in Maryland were $38,383 per prisoner as of 2012, based on a survey conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice, which collected and analyzed data from prisons in 40 states throughout the nation.
inmate, prison, costs, maryland
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2015-27-29
Tuesday, 29 Dec 2015 05:27 PM
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