Where is the money? I am angry, and the public should be, too.

The Sun Journal ran a series of articles, starting Oct. 14, about the Maine Department of Corrections.

Several years ago, there was a commercial that asked, “Where’s the beef?” Taxpayers should be asking the same question to the DOC, because if my calculator is correct, the news media aren’t asking the right questions. Worse, the public and the Legislature aren’t either.

Here’s why: At one point in the article, it was stated that DOC expenditures for 2007 were $153 million. That being true, common sense and standard business practices tell me that operating costs will increase, not go down.

But why is there only $149 million in the budget?

Looking closely at the article, the cost per inmate is $35,000 per year, or $103 per day. This $103 multiplied by 365 days equals $37,595. If that is the true figure, with 2,109 inmates, the budget should be $73.8 million.

So, why the other $80 million?

I then assumed the figure was a two-year budget, but the article declared in 2006, the DOC spent $132 million.

That represents $66,000 per inmate.

What’s wrong with that picture? Well, simple accounting takes total operating costs, divided by the number of inmates, equals cost per inmate. Anything else is fraudulent math.

Does anyone besides me see a problem here?

David Stanton, Windham

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