Massachusetts is lowest on the list of incarcerated people per capita in the United States, at 88 per 100k. For the sake of this post we'll talk about prison and not jail. Massachusetts current has about 6200 people in prison.

The Shocking Price Of Housing Just One Prisoner In Massachusetts

$800,000 is the Department of Correction's budget in Massachusetts for 2023 which includes funding for facility operations, alcohol and substance abuse center, behavioral health and residential treatment, prison industry and farm services program, re-entry programs, DOC fees, and more.


When it comes to the cost of incarceration per prisoner, Massachusetts ranks at the top along with California ($131,339) and New York ($556,539). This is from the report MA Department of Correction Expenditures and Staffing Levels for Fiscal 2022 (Gordon Haas).

The Average Yearly Cost To House Just 1 Prisoner in MA is almost $130,000.

We mentioned some budget line items earlier, but the main driver of the high cost is prison operations and correctional officer benefits and salary.

The average annual cost per prisoner in FY 2022 was $127,736 or a 16% increase over Fiscal 2021. Total expenditures by the DOC in FY 2022 exceeded $760 million, a 5.7% increase from FY 2021.

Jesse Stewart, Townsquare Media
Jesse Stewart, Townsquare Media

Massachusetts may have an average prisoner cost well over $100,000, they do land high on the list of higher paid correctional officers. The average pay of a C.O. in Massachusetts is close to $80,000.

Massachusetts Dept. of Corrections graphic below show starting salary.


States in the southern part of the country such as Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi have high incarceration rates with very low pay for correctional officers, the opposite of Massachusetts.

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