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Incarceration Costs Significantly More than Supervision

The annual cost of detaining federal prisoners before trial and after sentencing is significantly higher than the cost of supervision in the community, according to figures compiled by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

In fiscal year 2016, detaining an offender before trial and then incarcerating him post-conviction was roughly eight times more costly than supervising an offender in the community. Placing an offender in a residential reentry center was about seven times more costly than supervision.

Judges regularly weigh the costs associated with custody and supervision when determining the amount of fines to be imposed on an offender. The graphic shows annual averages for community supervision, detention, and imprisonment in the federal system for the 2016 fiscal year.

Annual cost of imprisonment

The data identifies costs incurred by the U.S. Marshals Service, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts for housing, monitoring, treating, and supervising people charged and convicted of federal crimes.

Related Topics: Probation and Pretrial Services