Cost Of Mass Incarceration In Excess Of $1 Trillion

So far, it is estimated that over a trillion dollars of taxpayers’ money have been put into the cost of locking people up in state, federal and local correctional facilities.

Mass incarceration cost in the U.S. is on an exponential increase. Largely to be blamed for this is the frequent call for criminal justice by the various political parties. Taxpayers shoulder the ever-increasing expenses involved in running the various prisons and correctional facilities across the country.

According to a survey by the Washington University, the total price mentioned by the advocates of reforms as the cost of running the prison service is just a minute fraction of the real price tag. The report released in July revealed that including the financial burden on social welfare, the educated guess of the cost is more than $1 trillion.

Moreover, researchers Carrie Pettus-Davis and Michael McLaughlin disclosed that due to the high number of incarceration cases in the country, an amount of $70.5 billion is lost in wages. Also, the duo revealed that ex-convicts are less likely to be hired and even if they are, they are paid less than their counterparts. This, the research found out, amounts to about $230 billion in lost earnings.

Furthermore, families of convicted persons tend to spend much more in visiting and communicating with their loved ones in prisons. The research exposed that families spend about $5 billion for “criminal justice debt,” every year.

“We find that for every dollar in corrections costs, incarceration generates an additional $10 in social costs. More than half of the costs are borne by families, children and community members who have committed no crime,” Pettus-Davis told The Source.

At the end of the survey, it came to light that the entire cost of mass incarceration on the society is 11 times higher than the total amount of money used in the correction process.

The phrase that you want to emphasize a few times and draw the reader’s attention to is:

Ultimately, the social cost of mass incarceration is 11 times higher than total spent on the corrections system itself.

America seems to be spending a lot more on prisons than the development of some sectors. The issue of mass incarceration has a ripple effect on the economy of the country; monies are spent on prisons and revenue is lost. Moreover, some may never want this to end because these prisons are privatized and the continuous practice benefits its owners. But should others make their money at the expense of the entire country? They might seem not to care because Black people constitute the high population of prison inmates.

Source: Think progress
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