The cost to house a prisoner in Hawaii may surprise you


The money the state collects from taxpayers is used for many things including education, infrastructure, and corrections.

Turns out, the amount it takes to house one prisoner for a year is more than many Hawaii residents make in a year.

Being locked up in prison is anything but paradise, but the price of paradise seems to apply to prisoners.

According to the Hawaii Department of Public Safety, the state spends about $140 per inmate per day, which includes program services, food, health care, and administrative costs.

When you add it up, that amounts to $51,100 per year per prisoner locked up in Hawaii.

The Vera Institute of Justice did a study several years ago and found the national average to be $31,286 a year.

According to that study, New York paid the most, spending an average of more than $60,000 a year per prison inmate.

Hawaii is saving some money by shipping some of our inmates to Arizona.

The estimated cost to house Hawaii inmates at Saguaro Correctional Center last fiscal year was $76.78 per inmate per day, which includes costs for transportation, health care, inmate work line wages, site inspections, and administrative costs.

That comes out to $28,024 a year, about half of what it costs to house our inmates here.

Six years ago, then Gov. Neil Abercrombie said he wanted to bring more prisoners home from the mainland.

KHON2 asked Gov. David Ige’s staff several times for his take on the matter, and we’re still waiting to hear back.

Currently there are about 5,600 inmates housed in Hawaii and out-of-state facilities, including those currently housed at Saguaro and the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu.

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