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Federal Bureau of Prisons: Methods for Estimating Incarceration and Community Corrections Costs and Results of the Elderly Offender Pilot

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2012
35 pages
This report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office to congressional requesters presents information on the Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) methods for estimating costs of housing inmates.
This report to congressional requesters was compiled following the issuance of the U.S. Government Accountability Offices' (GAO) report on the Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) use of flexibilities to reduce inmates' time in prisons. This report provides additional information on how the BOP estimates costs of housing inmates in BOP facilities, residential reentry centers (RRCs), and home detention. The report also includes information for congressional requesters on results of the evaluation of the Elderly Offender Pilot Program and the cost savings it provides to the Federal Government. The report notes that BOP uses different factors for estimating costs for its facilities. Daily costs per inmate are estimated using operational costs such as food, staff salaries and training, and medical supplies, but not costs such as those for new construction and modernization and repair. For community corrections, BOP estimates daily costs using the contract per diem rates paid to the privately-owned companies that operate RRCs and monitor offenders that are on home detention. The information obtained from the evaluation of the Elderly Offender Pilot Program indicates that the program achieved no cost savings to the Federal Government. It is noted that the lack of cost savings from the program could be attributed to the strict eligibility requirements that allowed offenders to participate in the program.