Texas Politics
The Cost of Incarceration
Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Operating and Capital Budgets, Fiscal Years 1990-2005
Year* Operating Budget ($Millions) % Change (year on year) Capital Budget ($Millions) Total TDCJ Population Incarceration
Rate per
100,000 Population
1990     793 - -   48,320 284.5
1991     937 18.2% 415    49,608 285.5
1992 1,094 16.8% 53   51,592 290.5
1993 1,343 22.8% 264    64,313 354.4
1994 1,418  5.6% 889    91,875 480.0
1995 1,705 20.2% 295  127,559 658.8
1996 1,931 13.3% 63 130,904 677.0
1997 2,066  7.0% 19 138,641 704.0
1998 2,078  0.6% 75 143,803 716.2
1999 2,084  0.3% 41 146,930 717.9
2000 2,316 11.1% 60 151,100 724.6
2001 2,281  -1.5% 23 145,391 682.6
2002 2,496  9.4% 32 145,225 667.5
2003 2,583  3.5% 107  147,993 669.1
2004 2,494 -3.4% 98 - -
2005 2,418 -3.0% 25 - -
long description of table

"Build it and they will come."
The prison-building boom that began fitfully in the early 1980s hit its stride during the early 1990s. This is reflected in prison operating and capital budgets reported here. The capital (or construction) budget designates money for the bricks, bars, and mortar of new prison facilities. The operating budget pays for the operation and maintenance of new and old facilities. It includes things like guards' salaries, prisoners' food and medical care, and keeping the lights on day and night.

Affordable housing?
Though new prison construction has tapered off, Texas today spends nearly $2.5 billion dollars each year to operate the state's correctional system. With a prison population 95% male, TDCJ currently houses 1.4% of all male Texans including 0.7% of all white males and 1.2% and 4.6% of Latino and black male Texans.

Source: Texas Department of Criminal Justice; Criminal Justice Policy Council; Legislative Budget Board. (full source)