If the fact that Guantanamo illegally detains people without a trial is not enough to convince you that it's time to shut it down, maybe the fact that it has been called the "most expensive prison on earth" will.
Reuters reports that "the Pentagon estimates it spends about $150 million each year to operate the prison and military court system at the U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, which was set up 11 years ago to house foreign terrorism suspects. With 166 inmates currently in custody, that amounts to an annual cost of $903,614 per prisoner."
Roughly, that means every year, tax payers are expected to fork over nearly a $1 million per prisoner. Isn't that a lot of money to keep a prison that violates international law open? If you want to compare that to other prisons in America, the average cost of a prisoner is about $60,000 to $70,000 per year. On the federal level, that means about $30,000.
Ken Gude, VP at the Center for American Progress think tank, told Reuters that "It's extremely inefficient ... That ... may be what finally gets us to actually close the prison. I mean the costs are astronomical, when you compare them to what it would cost to detain somebody in the United States," Gude said. The annual cost of one single inmate is almost the amount necessary to fund an entire "Meals on Wheels" program for the elderly in seven states.
How much have we spent on Guantanamo since it opened in 2002? It's hard to say. Gude says he's never seen an estimate because administrations have only been keeping abreast of expenses in the budget for a short time. "I don't know if I've ever seen an estimate but it is certainly more than $1 billion by a comfortable margin, I would say, probably more than $2 billion," he said.
Sorry, why are we keeping Guantanamo open again?
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