Solitary confinement: expenses disproportionate in federal prisons

News 22 March, 2018
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    Maxime Huard

    Thursday, march 22, 2018 14:52

    Thursday, march 22, 2018 14:55

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    OTTAWA | prisoners kept in solitary confinement in federal prisons cost an average of 463 000 $ more to the State than the rest of the prison population last year. A figure disproportionate, according to the parliamentary budget officer (DPB).

    The average cost of an offender incarcerated in a federal facility in 2016-2017 was 114 587 $ 314 $ per day, concludes the watch-dog of finance in a report published Thursday.

    In comparison, it costs 1269 $ more per day to keep an inmate in isolation.

    These figures reveal “a disproportion in the share of costs attributable to the prisoners placed in isolation, either occasionally or on a regular basis”, one can read in the document.

    The director of the budget has not been able to obtain details on the nature of the additional spending for correctional Service Canada on this subject.

    In 2016-2017, 14 310 offenders were under federal responsibility. To 9 August 2016, the number of prisoners placed in isolation was 360, that is to say a proportion of 2.5 %.

    The average annual cost per inmate varies significantly from one type of institution to another. The men in the prisons to maximum-security result in spending an average of 92 740 $ per year, while those in minimum-security facilities cost 47 370 $.

    For women, the prices per type of institutions is not available. The incarceration of a woman in the country costs an average of $ 83 861 $ annually, or $ 230 per day.

    The report also notes that it is much more expensive to keep a prisoner in detention in a federal penitentiary or a provincial. In Quebec, a prisoner cost an average 78 110 $ in 2015-2016.

    This is mainly because the federal prisons inherit the offenders the most dangerous.

    “The people incarcerated in federal prisons are sentenced to terms of imprisonment of two years or more. In contrast, most of the people detained in provincial facilities (60 %) are in preventive detention, awaiting trial or judgment, while the others (40 %) are serving sentences of less than two years,” notes the DPB.

    The overall cost of incarceration in federal prisons amounted to 1.57 billion $ in 2016-2017. Not less than 70 % of these expenditures are related to salary and benefits of the staff.