What does it say when the cost of housing a prisoner is more than a lot of Americans make in salary a year?
This article states the cost of housing a prisoner in CA:
It costs the state about $49,000 a year to house each prisoner, according to corrections department statistics. Thornton said her department has never put a figure on the cost for “more staff-intensive” death row housing, but a state commission of experts last year estimated that the additional security and legal spending for capital inmates costs taxpayers $138,000 per death row prisoner each year.
Reading that, I was struck by the cost, which is a hefty amount on its own, but then it occurred to me that a lot of people don’t even make that much in a year (2009 Median household income was $50,303). ”The typical American household made less money last year than the typical household made a full decade ago.”
All this got my brain spinning. It makes me think about are why workers are paid less than they were ten years ago, and if the cost to house and feed a person is $50k a year, why is the measure of poverty so low, and why aren’t people earning more (or why hasn’t minimum wage caught up)?
Another question is how the incarceration rate increase relates to this, whether it’s a sign of hard economic times (people turning to crime to feed families), or something else.
So, discuss! :)