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When it comes to the cost of living, for those who are incarcerated by a state or federal institution, South Dakota is a notorious penny-pincher. In fact, only North Dakota has a lower cost per inmate.

In 2022 reported that South Dakota spends approximately $128M per year to house state prisoners.

The state of Iowa was ranked 10th in the country while Nebraska was #20, and Minnesota ranked 23.

  • Minnesota: $618.45M
  • Nebraska: $431.93M
  • Iowa: $305.97M

USA points out that spending per prisoner varies widely across states.

From about $18,000 per prisoner in Mississippi to $135,978 per prisoner in Wyoming in 2020. States spent an average of $45,771 per prisoner for the year.

The cost per prisoner in South Dakota is just over $33K per year. In Nebraska $60K per year. Iowa is about $55 per year. But, Minnesota is nearly $76K per year, per prisoner.

You may be surprised to learn that the one state where it costs the most to house a prisoner is Wyoming, $136,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

On the other side of the bars, correctional officers on average take home $42,000 per year in South Dakota.

No, that isn't the lowest in the country, but it is the lowest in the 5-state region.

Officers in high-wage states, such as California, New York, and Massachusetts, make double the salaries of officers in low-wage states, such as Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia.


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