Amicus lector
What’s a Class 5 felon cost? About $16,500 a year

My colleague David Montgomery is in Pierre this month covering the legislative session, and he picked up an interesting bit of data yesterday.

He forwarded me some stats from a “fiscal impact statement” last night, an hour or before Mr. Politics dutifully turned on the State of the Union address. Here’s his blog with SD reactions. to the SOTU.

Some background here: Recall that part of last year’s sweeping criminal justice reforms involved a requirement that lawmakers attach an impact statement to any bill that might increase or decrease the prison population.

The idea is for lawmakers to do some cost-benefit analysis before creating new crimes.
The tendency in the past has been for lawmakers to react to a high-profile case or uncomfortable crime statistic by showing up in Pierre and passing a “get tough” law without much regard for whether getting tough actually solves the problem (plenty of studies say incarceration is a high-cost, low-return way to change behavior).

The ripple effect can become costly for counties, which have to pay to hold people in jail, and the state, which pays to hold people in prison.

The reform bill was built on the understanding that alternatives to incarceration can keep people safe and hold offenders accountable for less money.

Anyway, here’s the list of stats that Monty sent. All errors are SIC, he says.

Class 1 Misdemeanor statistics:

The average percentage of people sentenced to jail after being convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor is 41 percent.

The average jail time served for a Class 1 misdemeanor is 24 days.

The average jail cost per day is $72.30.

The total annual cost for one violator is $1,735.

The total cost for an average of one violator per year over a 10-year period is $17,352.

Class 6 Felony Statistics:

The average percentage of people sentenced to jail after being convicted of a Class 6 Felony is 23%.

The average jail time served for a Class 6 felony is 36 days.

The average jail cost per day is $72.30.

The total jail cost for one violator is $2,603.

The total jail cost for an average of one violator per year over a 10-year period is $26,028.

The average percentage of people sentenced to prison after being convicted of a Class 6 Felony is 30 percent.

The average prison time served is 242 days.

The average prison cost per day is $33.67.

The total annual prison cost for one violator is $8,149.

The total prison cost for an average of one violator per year over a 10-year period is $81,488

 The total annual jail and prison cost is $10,752.

The total jail and prison cost for an average of one violator per year over a 10-year period is $107,516.

Class 5 Felony Statistics

The average percentage of people sentenced to jail after being convicted of a Class 5 Felony is 16 percent.

The average jail time served is 65 days.

The average jail cost per day is $72.30.

The total jail cost for one violator is $4,700.

The total jail cost for an average of violator per year over a 10-year period is $46,995.

The average percentage of people sentenced to prison after being convicted of a Class 5 Felony is 51 percent.

The average prison time served is 632 days.

The average prison cost per day is $32.48

The total annual prison cost for one violator is $11,854.

The total prison cost for an average of one violator per year over a 10-year period is $204,466.

The total annual jail and prison cost is $16,553.

The total jail and prison cost for an average of one violator per year over a 10-year period is $251,461.

Disclaimers:

Misdemeanor days are based on time ordered and not time served. (Time served data is currently unavailable.) 10 year projections are in today’s dollars and are not adjusted for inflation.

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