Tracking code caldwell guardian

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How To Figure Jail Bed Costs

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 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.


  1. 296 beds Dale Hale Detention Center
    62 beds in the annex
    216 in the workcenter

    comes out to be 574 beds......

    Might want to rethink your numbers genius.

    Apply that superior intellect and management skills and rework those numbers to include all 3 of those facilities that 9 million dollars pays for.

    I think you will findcosts are around $43.00 per day. Wow that's about half of what you have said.

  2. Explain why the Sheriff sent people to other jails when they were occupying only 238 beds out of a reported 296 available. You can forget about the work center because they only have about 50 people out of 223 using it.

    Part of the reason for the unused beds is they need a cushion of empty beds should space be necessary for a round up of the "usual suspects" take place.

  3. Mr. Guardian,
    I am unclear. Are you against a new jail bond or are you against being tough on crime? Are you for leniency for criminals in the name of saving money (a tough position to defend), which seems to be the latest iteration of your rants.

    You seem to be saying that the jail bond isn't well thought out, not because it is a waste of taxpayer dollars, but because we are locking people away for no reason. You "lock them up and throw the key" argument seems odd in terms of a county jail. What is the average stay of a county prisoner? Are you saying it should be less? You sure seem to be arguing the bad guys case here. No jail bond because all of the bad guys aren't really all that bad and we shouldn't be putting them behind bars. Is that it?

    Maybe you should be spending your time arguing for sentencing reform and not fighting a jail bond that is trying to deal with the reality that current sentencing guidelines dictates to the county.

    Maybe you just haven't thought that one through. Thought I'd help.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  4. Can I get an amen on that brothers and sisters!

  5. Thanks but no thanks guardian, but I'll get my info from the insider. He at least seems to know what he is commenting on and actually posts both sides of the argument.


A public discourse on the issues of the day makes the world a better place.

We welcome comments but they will be moderated and edited if too long or do not have anything to do with the post.
Agree or disagree just do it without profanity or it won't get posted. Try to keep your comments to no more than 300 words. Too long and I will try to edit it down or simply delete the comment. The whole idea is to get people to read your comment. Don't use 10 words when one will do the job.

It's OK to have a difference of opinion but keep it civil. I have used the "delete" feature on myself at times.

The ANONYMOUS feature for comments seems to be the most user friendly. People have commented they have difficulty with the other methods of posting comments.