A few data points I gathered from the Incarceration in America conference I attended last week might be eye-opening for some:
- It costs $35,000 a year to serve an entire family though her Drew House model, which gives women and her children a place to live and offers services like counseling, instead of going to jail, according to Drew House founder Rita Zimmer.
- Comparatively, it would cost $135,000 for the entire family if foster care was the choice.
- It costs about $165,000 a year to house a person in Rikers Island jail in New York City, according to George McDonald, president and founder of The Doe Fund.
- Comparatively, it’s $60,000 a year in a state prison.
- And it’s $20,000 a year to house the average single adult person in a New York City shelter, McDonald said.
If you change a person’s life, you change their children’s lives. —George McDonald
- For every $1 invested in a person, you get $3.60 back, said McDonald.
- From 1995 to 2010, the prison population over 55 years old quadrupled, said Elizabeth Gaynes, executive director of the Osborne Association.
- There were 11.7 million admissions to jails in 2013, according to Peggy McGarry, director of the Center on Sentencing and Corrections at the Vera Institute of Justice.
- People who stay in jail before their case is adjudicated, meaning they do not get bailed out, receive a sentence that is three times longer, said McGarry.
- Over 20% of adults in the U.S. have a criminal record.