An inmate reads a book in a gymnasium where the population is housed due to overcrowding at the California Institution for Men state prison in Chino, California.
Prisons in California are currently operating at 141 percent of capacity. Overcrowding leads to more dangerous environments in prisons, and significantly adds to taxpayer costs.
California’s Legislative Analysts Office calculates that taxpayers spend $47,102 a year per inmate. By that math, a mere 21 inmates cost taxpayers $1 million a year. When a state’s prison population swells to 136,000 inmates, voters should be looking for a better return on investment.
Is the cheapest rehabilitation for a drug addict a prison cell? Could that money improve schools? Heck, there’s a theory out there that high-school graduation is the best prevention against adult incarceration.
Click through the gallery for incarcerated views of grown men—many of whom fell through cracks in our education system as youths.
Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters