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The cost of imprisoning a man, woman or young adult in California is expected to reach a record $75,560 in the next year, according to new reports, a cost that far exceeds a year at the most prestigious private colleges in the United States.
The AP reports that Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget includes a record $11.4 billion for the corrections department, while paradoxically noting that there will be less prisoners in the next four years.
Though the prison population has been reduced by about twenty-five percent since 2005, the price for each inmate in California has doubled. Salaries and benefits for prison guards and medical providers drove much of the increase.
The corrections department has one employee for every two inmates, compared with one employee for roughly every four inmates in 1994.
Critics contend that with fewer inmates, the costs should be falling.
“We released all the low-risk, kind of low-need, and we kept in the high-risk, high-need,” said Joan Petersilia, co-director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center.
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