What’s a Year in Prison Cost?

Silverdale resident Les Allen is a man on a mission.

The 81-year-old once heard a superior court judge say that he had no idea what the cost per year for incarceration was in Washington state, despite that judge being in charge of sentencing recently convicted individuals for long stays in the state’s prisons.

Allen believes the judge should announce the cost of the prison stay during the sentencing.

His rationale: that if everyone knew the costs, “they might consider alternatives,” he told me. Interestingly enough, the legislature this year is considering a massive overhaul of the Department of Corrections.

Allen’s research on the top is impressive. At his Web Site, therighttoknow.org, you can find out the annual cost per inmate — usually around $32,000 — of any prison in the state. Check it out if you have a moment.

What’s your take on our prison costs?

4 thoughts on “What’s a Year in Prison Cost?

  1. Wow! Why is the cost for women inmates so much more than men? Good informative site. I agree that some crimes are over sentenced. We really need to focus on the worst criminals. Some of them are blue collar workers in positions to abuse power. Thus committing white collar crimes, embezzlement of money and even the trafficking of children.

  2. Would the women’s prison at Belfair be less expensive moved somewhere else?
    What makes it so pricey besides the real estate?

  3. Whatever happened to prison being punishment and a deterrent? Although there should be some programs to assist in reform- for those that truly need & want it, social work should not become the primary factor in prison. We already have a variety of social programs in prison, some of which drastically reduce the time a person spends in confinement. Both drug offenders and sex offenders can reduce their time behind bars if they participate in counseling and therapy while in prison. There are sentencing guidelines the legislature mandated that the judges must follow, regardless of what the punishment may be according to the law.

    So, the person that sells your kid meth and gets sentenced to 18 months (because it is the 1st time they “got caught”) gets 1/3 time off for good behavior. Then, another 1/3 off for participating in their drug rehab program ends up serving only 6 months in prison. Do you think that person learned anything meaningful in prison? Do you think they even had enough time to get anywhere in their “drug rehab”? As far as sex offenders go I’m not even sure they can be rehabilitated, let alone for only a few months of “treatment”.

    I am sure each person has their own opinion of which laws are more serious than others, but until they fix the loopholes that are already there, I am happy to pay the tax money to keep these felons out of circulation. By the way, did Les Allen ever total up the cost of the criminal to society if they are kept OUT of prison? Just the monetary losses by some of these felons are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and grow the longer they are free to commit more crimes. Then add in the costs that you can’t put a number to……

  4. …first time offenders should get a rude awakening at sentencing… harsh enough they are not tempted to repeat. And harsh enough to cause folks fear of committing a crime.

    The first time offender gets out without much impact from their crime, maybe subconsciously thinks crime DOES pay… and another victim will pay for our lack of justice for the victims of a first time criminal offender.

    For every crime there is a victim, yet we don’t seem to care … we seem to care only that the perpetrator be handled with kid gloves…. and let out quickly.
    The slap on the hand doesn’t work very well does it?

    Let’s put the criminals to work to pay for their own room and board.

    For starters they can work at harvesting fields … and eliminate the illegal immigrant factor coming here for jobs.
    The criminals can do those jobs if our citizens don’t want to do them.

    We owe nothing to the criminal… we do owe our citizens the right to live without fear of a criminal attack from people we protect.

    Recently someone sent me an email to Pray For The Folks In Prison.
    I will continue to pray for the victims…
    Sharon O’Hara

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