Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Inmate Population Is Down…

This year South Dakota’s inmate population is down according to an article from the Argus Leader. This is the second year in a row since the late 1980s that the population has actually decreased. This, as stated in the article, is due to prison programs that keep inmates who are convicted of nonviolent crimes out of jail, and working in their communities.

These programs are beneficial for the individual convicted, his/her family, and the state of South Dakota. They keep people in the workforce… which benefits South Dakota’s economy, and they do not remove mothers and fathers from whose work may be the only source of income for the family. I think programs like this for non-violent offenders are very beneficial because they save the state millions of dollars (as opposed to full-time incarceration).

Keeping them out of South Dakota institutions saves taxpayers money. According to information from the SD Department of Corrections Website:
In state fiscal year 2007, the average cost to house an inmate per day in an adult facility broke down as follows:

Mike Durfee State Prison - $44.5
Yankton Minimum Unit - $26.32
Rapid City Minimum Unit - $38.75
SD State Penitentiary - $53.22
Redfield Minimum Unit - $28.65
Jameson Unit C - $21.95
SD Women's Prison - $61.43
SDWP Minimum Unit - $28.11

The average daily cost to supervise someone on Parole was $4.29.

Also, by my own calculations using population numbers from the DOC website…

The cost per inmate is calculated from 2007 data. Population numbers are current to 2008. These quick calculations do not even account for parolees ($4.29 per day) .
In the Governor’s recommended 2009 budget, he has $83,403,757 going into the program from the general fund alone. Improving upon what we have will help cut these costs down even more.

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