News Article

Housing An NYC Inmate As Costly As Ivy League Tuition

By Alexandra Hill, WBGO News
October 1, 2013

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A recently released report finds that the cost of housing a New York City Inmate is equivalent to the cost of an Ivy League tuition.

The study, conducted by the New York City independent budget office, finds that the average cost of housing an inmate last year exceeded $167,000. That’s nearly as much as the four year tuition at an Ivy League school. George Sweeting, deputy director of the budget office, says 76 percent of inmates are awaiting trial and believes revisiting the city’s stance on bail could help ease the burden on taxpayers.

“If you really have people sitting in jail because they can’t make a relatively modest bail maybe the issue is what you are gaining by keeping someone there because they can’t make two or three thousand dollars bail.”

Sweeting says the big ticket items are the salaries and benefits of the city’s corrections officers and the cost of transporting inmates to courts across the five boroughs.

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