Where Does $49,000 for Each Inmate Go?

California spends four times as much per prisoner as Mississippi. Where does the money go?

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California spends around $49,000 annually per adult inmate, nearly 4 times Mississippi, which spends $13,300. Where does the money go? A partial breakdown:

Security

$20,429

Medical services

$7,669

Parole operations

$4,436

Facility operations

$3,938

Administration

$2,871

Psychiatric services

$1,403

Food

$1,377

Education

$687

Records

$513

Vocational education

$289

Inmate welfare fund

$282

Clothing

$152

Religion

$53

Activities

$23

Library

$23

Transportation

$15

Sources: Bureau of Justice Statistics; California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; National Association of State Budget Officers

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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