Cost of Incarceration in the US

"Taxpayers spent about $68.7 billion in 2008 to feed, clothe, and provide medical care to prisoners in county jails, state and federal prisons and facilities housing legal and illegal aliens facing possible deportation.46 From 1982 to 2002, state and federal spending on corrections, not adjusted for inflation, rose by 423%, from $40 to $209 per U.S. resident.47 Corrections spending, as a share of state budgets, rose faster than health care, education, and natural resources spending from 1986 to 2001.48 The average cost of housing a prisoner for a year was about $24,000 in 2005, though rates vary from state to state.49"


Kirchhoff, Suzanne M., "Economic Impacts of Prison Growth," Congressional Research Service, (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, April 13, 2010), p. 9.