The Cost of Incarceration in New York State

October 31, 2022

Special Report

New York invests tens of billions of dollars to hold people behind bars.

In 2019, a typical New York county outside of New York City spent more than $225 to keep a single person in jail for one night, or more than $82,000 per year. In state prisons, New York spends an average of over $315 a day, or nearly $115,000 per year, to incarcerate one person. In fact, jail and prison budgets have continued to grow even as the number of people incarcerated has gone down significantly. Every dollar spent locking someone up comes at the expense of funding for other services that could more effectively help to build healthy and safe communities.

This page contains reports on how much New York spends on its jails and prisons and shows how that money could be better spent in service of community health and safety.

New York State Counties Summary Fact Sheet
Full Report: The Cost of Jail in New York State
An Analysis of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision's Budget
An Analysis of the New York City Department of Correction’s Budget


The Cost of Incarceration in New York State

How Counties Outside New York City Can Reduce Jail Spending and Invest in Communities

Jail populations have fallen significantly across New York State, and crime has dropped as well. But spending on jails continues to climb. In 2019, the 57 counties outside New York City collectively spent more than $1.3 billion to staff and run their jails. Counties must cut jail spending and reinvest those savings in communities most impacted by m ...

  • Lauren Jones, Sandra van den Heuvel, Amanda Lawson
January 15, 2021

Against the Odds

Experimenting with Alternative Forms of Bail in New York City’s Criminal Courts

Statistics show that money bail is unaffordable and out of reach for many New Yorkers. On any given day, 7,000 people are detained pretrial at Rikers Island and other New York City jails because they cannot make bail. While judges in New York can choose up to nine different forms of bail at arraignment—including “alternative” forms that require lit ...

  • Insha Rahman
September 15, 2017