RANGER AGAINST WAR: The $800,000 Question <

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The $800,000 Question

National Priorities Project

Well we're droppin' our bombs

In the Southern Hemisphere

And people are starving

That live right here

--Love and Happiness,

John Cougar Mellencamp


Some sundry figures: It costs $800,000 per year to house one prisoner in Guantanamo Bay, per Mother Jones (11/10/11); Eurasia Review cites a $1 million figure for each cleared Gitmo inmate. The inmates have no date of release.

Compare those figures with the $47,102 annual cost for incarcerating an inmate in a California state jail (
lao.ca.gov). The sites says, "[o]ver two-thirds of these costs are for security and inmate health care" ($19,663 and $12,442, respectively.) Annual incarceration fee per prisoner at Supermax is estimated to be $76,000.

So here is the $800,000 question:
Why does the U.S. still have prisoners at Gitmo and why are we, the U.S. taxpayers, paying this money to keep them there (especially since the closing of Gitmo was one of President Obama election promises . . . how soon the honeymoon promises are tossed aside)? What are we getting from this expenditure to house cleared prisoners? Why do the incarceration costs at Gitmo far exceed the rates at other state and federal facilities?

And what of the benefits from any of the human detritus we have swept up? We paid a cool $25 million for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (forgetting all of the incidental costs leading up to his capture.) The U.S. has spent at least $7 million to maintain him, and to what purpose and what gain? KSM has never stood before a federal judge, so what form, justice?

The Supercommittee could not arrive at a
budget agreement, but we never put the wars or the panoply of related costs on the chopping block.

Consider the very small issue of the incarceration cost of one cleared Gitmo prisoner. Assuming the average citizen pays $5,000 is taxes annually, this means 160 individual annual taxes go to house one prisoner incarcerated in a phony war. Multiply that by the 170 prisoners currently in Gitmo and you see that 27,200 citizens pay their entire taxes to house Gitmo prisoners.

In Ranger's grid square of the Military-Industrial complex in impoverished Northwest Florida, the $800,000 it takes to house one prisoner could fund a full-time homeless shelter or several youth centers. It costs $2.50/visit to the local municipal swim complex. $5/wk for ftwo visits would be beyond the reach of an impoverished child or a citizen living on meager disability funds, and yet those citizens could most benefit from access. Why aren't our municipal facilities accessible by all citizens? And no, there are no provisions to allow reduced fee access for our neediest.

The local Big Bend Homeless Coalition
disburses a federal grant for homeless people providing $550 in rent and $113.10 for utilities to cover about 120 apartments -- a supply far underserving the need. As the citizens gain income, they then pay a pro-rated amount. Our local Section 8 Housing Program is an absolute wash, with needy citizens routinely turned away and told to try back in a month, and then another month; a program representative said they are working on logs from three years ago.

Back to the prisoners: The Israelis recently released 1,000 truly dangerous fighters in exchange for one Israeli soldier, and they released them knowing they were still military assets that would take up the cause.

The British released IRA military personnel from prison when they signed their cease-fire. At some point, all of these dangerous men must be released. A liberal society cannot keep people interminably incarcerated sans fair trial. That is not the way we roll.

Gitmo is not Dachau.

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Anonymous CholoAzul said...

The way we roll? Well, this is the way *they* roll...


"Ignoring a presidential veto threat, the Democratic-controlled Senate moved methodically Thursday to complete a massive defense bill that would deny suspected terrorists, even U.S. citizens seized within the nation's borders, the right to trial and subject them to indefinite detention."

Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 9:30:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

after research i'm writing a piece that will touch on the 2012 appropriations bill. theres little i can say that hasn't been said, but i will try to add to the dialogue.
thanks for writing.

Friday, December 2, 2011 at 8:51:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger root1657 said...

I'd like to see you post a graphic showing the drop in the bucket that is discretionary spending compared with the flood that is mandatory spending.

Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 8:55:00 PM GMT-5  

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