Earlier today, I wondered if the budget estimate for the MORE Act reflected enough savings. Center for New Revenue Board Member Doug Berman, Professor at the Ohio State University Law School, explained on Twitter how the estimate could be right. https://twitter.com/SLandP/status/1335609314862657536
“Cost per inmate is often quoted much higher when total Bureau of Prison costs are divided by total number of inmates, but the “real” cost of one more or one less inmate is lower because removing, say, 50 inmates will not justify shutting a facility and reducing staff.
“Federal inmate population has dropped 60,000+ over last 8 years, and yet BOP budget has stayed stable … which means cost per prisoner calculation for whole system has increased and shows how reduction in prisoners does not perfectly convert to immediate cost savings.”
And my friend Dr. Keith Humphreys of Stanford tweeted, “Given the strength of correctional unions, it’s not clear that releasing 10,000 inmates would either.” https://twitter.com/KeithNHumphreys/status/1335639798845898753
I figured the average cost of housing an inmate would approximate the marginal cost of freeing one. But that figuring was not thought through.