SF County Jail By The Numbers: At Least $135 Per Day To House An Inmate

According to the Ex, “Inmates in San Francisco County Jail have it better than most people incarcerated in California.”

But what is “it”? Perhaps some of the figures cited in their article might help answer that question.

How much SF taxpayers pay to house one inmate (most of whom are awaiting prosecution) for a year: $63,000

For one day, according to the California Board of State and Community Corrections: $173

For one day, according to Chief Deputy Kathy Gorwood of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department: $135

Number of beds in SF’s jail system: 2,360

Number of beds that are for “training purposes only”: 372

SF’s jails’ total capacity: 1988

Bunks per cell: 2

Number of inmates with “violent histories, mental issues or problems with gangs” allowed per cell: 1

Average jail population over the past 18 months: 1524

Number of alleged offenders “charged with crimes awaiting their court dates on supervised release”: 888

Number of offenders on diversion programs: 1060

Percent of inmates taking classes in the jail system’s “Five Keys” charter school: 30

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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  • impossible to determine the actual cost of an inmate bed per day from the numbers that the gov’t employees provide. what i always wanted to know – what is the daily cost of an empty jail bed. what is the daily cost of all the empty jail beds. empty beds costs plenty of money too. and when you add the cost of an empty bed with the cost of home confinement, you get a more accurate number as to the true cost of home confinement. ps – since the jail and the employees are already there – it does not cost $135 a day to fill an empty jail bed. go to the county and get them to provide you with the actual jail expenditures for the past fiscal year. then try to get the jail to provide you with the average daily population numbers for the same fiscal year.

  • impossible to determine the actual cost of an inmate bed per day from the numbers that the gov’t employees provide. what i always wanted to know – what is the daily cost of an empty jail bed. what is the daily cost of all the empty jail beds. empty beds costs plenty of money too. and when you add the cost of an empty bed with the cost of home confinement, you get a more accurate number as to the true cost of home confinement. ps – since the jail and the employees are already there – it does not cost $135 a day to fill an empty jail bed. go to the county and get them to provide you with the actual jail expenditures for the past fiscal year. then try to get the jail to provide you with the average daily population numbers for the same fiscal year.