A new study finds Illinois spends more on its prison system than it budgets. The New York based Vera Institute of Justice found the state budgeted 1.2 billion dollars for the Department of Corrections. But Chris Henrichson, the study’s author, says not included are healthcare and pension costs for prison workers and debt. Once included, the total spent goes up to $1.7 billion.

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“32.5 percent of the costs are outside of the corrections budget,” says Henrichson. “This is going to the fact that Illinois is one of several states whose budgeting convention has it that expenses for employee benefits are budgeted in a central account.”

Henrichson says Illinois doesn’t necessarily have to change the way it budgets. The study is only meant to point out what prison really costs. Illinois has among the highest annual cost per inmate in the country… it cost roughly $38,000 to house one inmate in fiscal year 2010.


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