| Peter Cook

Missing the Mark!

Missing the Mark!

Introduction

Did you know that Californian prisons budgeted $2,000 more per inmate per year than the cost of an annual Harvard education in 2017?  

So, to put it in perspective, California could Harvard educate every prisoner in the state, and the state would still save $2,000 for each person.  The $2, 000 is over and above tuition, fees, room, and board.

It is just insane to think about it!  

California could have over 1.5 million Harvard students as inmates and still save over $3 billion annually.   

We all know California is expensive.

Living costs for a family of four are $12,370 per month, according to 2018 statistics.   This budget works out to just over $3,000 per person, per month.

A Californian prison

In contrast, the cost of imprisoning a Californian inmate is expected to reach a staggering $75,560 in the next year.   If one makes a rough calculation, it brings you to $6,300 per month, and that is per person.

Part of this large sum and the budget increase is for the salaries and benefits of correctional officers and medical providers.

What am I saying?   

Jails are expensive

It is a fact:  it is much, much more expensive to house someone in jail or a hospital in California than in an average household.

Our calculations might be a bit simplified for the sake of argument, but in essence, it is true, and it is so across America.

Start in communities

It makes sense to rather keep people out of a hospital and out of jail.

It is a sad fact that drug use and addiction are some of the main reasons why people end up in one of these expensive places in the first place.

Recent years have shown a change in jail populations.  

First time to be assessed  

Harsher sentencing laws for drug offenses led to increases in the number of minority and female inmates.   By necessity, jails have become ‘gatekeepers' in identifying and addressing issues such as homelessness, mental illnesses, and substance use disorders.

For some, it is often the first time they’ve had the opportunity to have their acute needs stabilized and to receive referrals for community services.

In-jail treatment

In-jail substance abuse treatment has shown to be very successful.  

Treated prisoners were less likely to re-offend.  In studies, lower relapse rates and lower levels of depression were reported.  Cost savings associated with treatments in jails were substantial.   

But, treatment facilities are few and far between.

Unfortunately, however, most jails do not offer treatment programmers for substance abusers.  

Of all inmates who have ever reported that they use drugs, only one in every eight received some or other treatment while in jail.  Also, most of these programs were in a self-help format.

Here at Largest Heart, we say “No!”   

Jails and hospitals are not the places to rehabilitate addicts.   

We have to support non-profit organizations that made it their life’s work to be lifelines and safety nets for hundreds of drug – and substance abusers.  

We have to support these organizations to keep these offenders out of jail and out of hospitals.   It is no easy feat, but it can start with your donation, your interest, and your volunteering.

Conclusion

This mission is what we are all about

We inform, support and try to make a difference.   

The ripple-effect may be small in the beginning, but together, if we all pledge to do just one thing, we can make a huge difference.

Support Largest Heart.     We say there are cheaper places to live in than in jail or hospitals.

Resources

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-prison-costs-20170604-htmlstory.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64145/

https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2017/06/05/price-year-jail-vs-year-harvard

https://patch.com/california/gilroy/californias-prison-statistics-how-golden-state-stacks

 

 

 

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