Approximately how much does it cost to imprison one inmate per year in California? A. $10,000 B. $25,000 C. 60,000 D. $100,000 E. $139,000
None of these options is particularly close to the actual figure for the cost of incarcerating an inmate for a year in California. The best answer is probably C, $60,000, because that figure is the closest to the figure given below by the state of California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO). The actual figure given by the state’s LAO is $47,102. Since that number is about $13,000 lower than Option C and $22,000 higher than Option B, we have to say that Option C is the best answer.
This kind of figure is one reason that many people want to do away with “mass incarceration.” They feel that the cost of incarceration is too high and that we need to imprison fewer people so that we do not spend so much money.