RI Second In Nation For Prison Inmate Spending

Go Local Providence

Friday, June 03, 2011
Chip Young, Senior Editor

Rhode Island ranks second in the U.S. in annual spending on prison inmates per year.

With a three-year contract with the RI Brotherhood of Correctional Officers in place until June 30, 2012, it is unlikely that costs will go down. And despite a gradually decreasing incarceration rate, the cost per inmate may actually go up, according to RI Department of Corrections Director A.T. Wall.

Only Maine pays more for the care and feeding of their prison population, according to the National Institute of Corrections, an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons.

At approximately $43,000 per year, per inmate, the total cost for the RI inmate population comes to nearly $150 million per year as of 2010, according to Wall.
Personnel Costs Run High

In 2010, the Adult Correctional Institutions had an average population of 3,300 inmates, down from 4,000 in 2008.

“Over 80 percent of our costs are personnel-related,” said Wall. “This involves intense supervision at all our facilities, around the clock. And 80 percent of that is “direct supervision” employees (essentially corrections officers).”

Average salary for the COs is $56,610, and there are currently 829 on the books, 61 percent of the total DOC staff. They work three regular shifts, with varied numbers based upon time of day. There is also a shift from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. that is required for handling of visitors and inmate recreation.

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