Saturday, March 25, 2006


As a retired cop (and still gainfully employed in LE), I naturally look at many current issues from a cop's view point. Sorry, can't help it.

One of these issues concerns donuts. Now I like donuts, AKA "Police Vitamins," But I am referring here to prison donuts. The ones served to criminal aliens as part of their taxpayer funded breakfast.

I found this May 2005 report released by the National institute of Corrections (NIC) referring to "Information regarding the criminal histories of incarcerated aliens..." and directed to the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims, the Honorable John N. Hostettler, Chairman.

This documents reports that:
  • There were about ten million illegal aliens living in the US in 2005.
  • In 2003 there were 55,322 illegal aliens incarcerated in federal/state prisons and local jails.
  • These illegal aliens combined for 459,614 arrests on 691,890 offenses
  • On the average each illegal was arrested at least 8 times
  • About 24% of these offenses (166,054) were drug crimes.
  • About 15% of these offenses (103,784) were property crimes such as burglary, larceny, auto theft and property damage.
  • About 12% of these offenses (83,027) were violent crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and assault.
  • 80% of all arrests (367,691) occurred in three states - California (58%), Texas (14%) and Arizona (8%).

In a prior report to the same Subcommittee in April, 2005, the NIC reported that:

  • The federal government bears total cost of incarcerating all criminal aliens in federal prisons and reimburses state and local governments for portions of their incarceration costs for certain criminal alien populations through the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP).
  • Any costs related to incarcerating criminal aliens not reimbursed by the federal government are borne by state and local governments.

Here the NIC is reporting on criminal aliens, which includes both legal and illegal aliens, housed in correctional and custody facilities in the US.

Within the federal prison system:

  • Criminal aliens incarcerated increased from about 42,000 at year-end 2001 to about 49,000 at year-end 2004.
  • For 2004, the majority of incarcerated criminal aliens were identified as citizens of Mexico.
  • The federal cost of incarcerating criminal aliens totaled about $5.8 billion from 2001 through 2004.

The 2004 federal prison population was 180,328 inmates; criminal aliens (47,000) comprised 27% of the total.

Within the state prison systems:

  • 47 states received reimbursement for incarcerating about 74,000 criminal aliens in fiscal year 2003.
  • 5 state prison systems incarcerated about 80 percent of these criminal aliens in fiscal year 2003 - Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and Texas.
  • 4 of these 5 states spent a total of $1.6 billion in fiscal years 2002 and 2003 to incarcerate State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) criminal aliens and were reimbursed about $233 million through SCAAP. (A reimbursement rate of 14.5%)

Within the local jail systems:

  • Fiscal year 2003 - SCAAP reimbursed 698 local jurisdictions for about 147,000 criminal aliens.
  • 5 municipal and county jails incarcerated about 30 percent of these criminal aliens in fiscal year 2003 - Los Angeles County, California; New York City, New York; Orange County, California; Harris County, Texas; and, Maricopa County, Arizona.
  • 4 of these 5 local jails spent a total of $390 million in fiscal years 2002 and 2003 to incarcerate SCAAP criminal aliens and were reimbursed about $73 million through SCAAP. (The feds picked up only 19% of the cost, it appears that many incarcerated illegals do not qualify for reimbursement at the state and local level)

Unfortunately not all state and local prison authorities report the number of illegals detained or the costs. But we do get a clearer picture of the impact of criminal aliens on our criminal justice systems.

I extrapolated the costs given for the 30% reported in local jails and the 80% in state prisons. This is a very rough estimate given that costs to house a prisoner vary significantly depending on whether it's a low, medium or high security facility, where the facility is located and the differences between federal, state and local "amenities". Because of the incomplete reporting by states and localities, it is also a low estimate.

for 2002 through 2003:

  • Federal prison system expended $2.9 billion (half of $5.8 billion for 2001-04)
  • State prison systems expended $2 billion ($1.6 billion divided by .8)
  • Local jail systems expended $1.3 billion ($390 million divided by .3)
  • Total expenditures estimated at $6.2 billion or $3.1 billion annually

The smell of bean burritos permeating the criminal justice system, priceless.

No comments: