Wednesday, December 2, 2009
There have been several comments on THE CALDWELL GUARDIAN citing Commissioner Alder's comments on Canyon County jail bed costs at $84/day per bed. Here is how they are figured...as straight forward as I can make it for everyone.
Here is how you figure the cost/day for a jail bed (for those who don't already know). You take the labor budget for the year known as the "A" budget and add it to the maintenance and operations budget (all the stuff besides direct labor like water, sewer, electricity, gas, repairs etc) known at the "B" budget and it comes to $9,075,360 for the year for the Canyon County Jail. Divide that by the number of beds (296) equals $30,660 per bed per year. Divide $30,660 per bed per year by 365 days in a year and it equals $84.00 per day per bed.
The above does not begin cover the depreciation of the Jail building nor the original cost of the building, the bond underwriting costs and the interest on the bonds. If you take the $6 million the jail cost when it opened in 1993 and straight line the depreciation for 20 years you can add another $2.77 or more per day to the $84/bed per day costs.
So it might really be closer $90/day per bed with all the hidden costs figured into the equation. This amount of money to keep someone behind bars should not be taken lightly by those of us paying the bills for incarceration.
This is how Commissioner Alder arrived at the cost per jail bed per day for those of you interested in the true costs of jail ops. It costs over $100/day per bed for the IDOC.
People need to be aware of the true costs of keeping people behind bars because it is not necessarily the cheapest solution to a given problem. The recently failed jail bond interest and principle would have ran right at $10,000.00/day or $3.65 million a year for twenty years. This is why "lock them up and throw the key away" makes no sense for taxpayers who are struggling to keep the wolves away from the front door in this economy.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 7:33 PM