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Do the Math

I read an article in the Wisconsin State Journal about Wisconsin sending prisoners to Texas. There are going to be 700 prisoners shipped there (40 per week, which will take 17.5 weeks) at a cost of $39.36 per day for their housing once they are there.

Using a progressive accumulation formula, the per diem housing cost will be $1,879,046.40 for the 17.5 weeks it takes to transport all 700 prisoners, and $192,864 per week thereafter. This brings the total housing cost to $8.5 million ($1.9 million for the first 17.5 weeks and $6.6 million for the remaining 34.5 weeks) for housing 700 Wisconsin prisoners in Texas for one year.

Yet the money budgeted for this ridiculous project amounts to only $3.8 million. If you compare this to the true cost, you will notice a short fall of $4.7 million.

But then you also have to calculate the cost of transporting the prisoners to and from Texas to fully appreciate how erroneous the $3.8 million budgeted (and publicized) figure is. The article states that the transportation cost is $5,600 per trip, for a total of $98,000 to move all 700 prisoners. Double that, and you have the cost of transporting them both ways.

I compared the housing and transportation cost to send 700 prisoners to Texas versus keeping them in Wisconsin. I used a $55.00 per diem cost (WI) quoted in the article, and came up with a total "savings" of $1,034,396 from shipping the prisoners to Texas.

I'm sure there are many other added costs, however, not to mention the human cost of tearing these prisoners away from their families and moving them across country. You also have to wonder how much money Wisconsin is paying in salaries to the useless bureaucrats who came up with such an insipid plan in the first place.

The impetus behind this plan surely had more to do with publicity and political campaigning than it had to do with corrections, which is the case with most such plans that deal with the poor and uneducated, as these are the individuals that sadly fill America's prisons and jails (now more than 1.6 million strong).

-E.D., Wisconsin

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