MORE Act budget numbers, questioned

UNC Law Professor Emeritus Bill Turnier points out that the Federal Register indicates that “the fee to cover the average cost of incarceration for Federal inmates was $34,704.12 ($94.82 per day) in FY 2016 and $36,299.25 ($99.45 per day) in FY 2017.” https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/04/30/2018-09062/annual-determination-of-average-cost-of-incarceration

The official budget estimate for the MORE Act (posted here yesterday projects) savings from less incarceration:  “reducing both the number of inmates in federal facilities and the aggregate time they serve would result in net savings of about $1 billion over the 2021-2030 period.”  “CBO estimates that H.R. 3884 would reduce time served by 73,000 person-years, among existing and future inmates.”  Calculating, that’s a cost of about $13,700 per person year.

So the actual savings using the Federal Register numbers would seem to be nearly three times the $1 billion stated. Usually, CBO is pretty thorough about this kind of budget estimate, so Professor Turnier and I are curious here.

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