Feb 2 2012

Todd Esthman reports on Vera's "The Price of Prisons" and interview SUNY Brockport's Korni Swaroop Kumar, director of the university's Department of Criminal Justice.


A study released by the Vera Institute of Justice last week found that New York is one of six states that spend considerably more on prisons than what its correctional budget reflects.

The report titled "The Price of Prisons" found New York state spent almost
$812.5 million more on prison related costs in fiscal 2010 than the $2.7 billion indicated in the Department of Correctional Services (now the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision) budget.
The primary additional costs to support the prison system were found in pension contributions for correctional employees, retiree health care contributions, employee benefits and underfunded health care contributions.
"As states continue to deal with serious budget constraints, it's critical that policy makers, corrections officials, taxpayers, and legislators know exactly what their prisons cost," said Vera Institute Director Michael Jacobson.
Korni Swaroop Kumar, director of the Department of Criminal Justice at the State University of New York at Brockport, said the DOCS doesn't give a clear picture as to how it allocates resources, and items such as pension contributions and benefit costs should be included in the corrections budget.
"Not only do you have to maintain an inmate, but when you build a prison you also have to have employees for supervision and guidance and the cost for that should be in the corrections budget," he said.
Kumar noted that the cost is included in the correctional budgets of many other states.