Former Prime Minister Jean Castex announced last year the government’s desire to create 15,000 additional prison places within five years. A project that has different costs but which ones?
Jail, in addition. In France, there are 188 prison establishments and as of June 1, 2022, 71,678 people were incarcerated. Whether it is the construction of new cells or the upkeep of prisoners, the prison environment has a high cost.
If the number of cells per prison varies, the latter have a construction cost which is between 150,000 and 190,000 euros per cell. Depending on its size, a prison cell can accommodate from one to four inmates.
Life in prison also has its cost. We must feed the detainees, provide them with enough to live in respect of the law and human dignity, but also pay the salaries of the prison employees.
Thus, it is estimated that on average a day of incarceration in prison costs 105 euros per prisoner. This would be equivalent to an expenditure of approximately 32,000 euros for a year of incarceration.
The prison closes more expensive than its alternatives
The closed prison turns out to have a much higher cost than its alternatives. The semi-freedom regime, for example, costs half as much, with an average daily expenditure of 50 euros.
As for the system of placement under electronic surveillance, it is an even less expensive alternative since on average one day under this regime corresponds to an expenditure of 10 euros.
Thus, in comparison, a year under the semi-freedom regime costs around 1,000 euros per prisoner against 32,000 in prison.