​Guantanamo Yearly Cost Of $900k Per Prisoner​​

The Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base isn’t a popular place and has been dubbed the most expensive prison on Earth, but the government still pays the yearly cost of $900,000 per prisoner.

Guantanamo Yearly Cost

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.

By comparison, super-maximum security prisons in the United States spend about $60,000 to $70,000 at most to house their inmates, analysts say. And the average cost across all federal prisons is about $30,000, they say.

The high cost was just one reason Obama cited when he returned this week to an unfulfilled promise to close the prison and said he would try again. Obama also said that the prison, set up under his Republican predecessor George W. Bush and long the target of criticism by rights groups and foreign governments, is a stain on the reputation of the United States.

“It’s extremely inefficient,” said Ken Gude, chief of staff and vice president at the liberal Center for American Progress think tank, who has followed developments at Guantanamo Bay since 2005.

“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 cost argument could be a potent weapon at a time of running budget battles between Obama and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and of across-the-board federal spending cuts that kicked in March. The “sequestration” as it is known, is due to cut some $109 billion in spending up to the end of September and has cut government services small and large.

Just one inmate from Guantanamo, for example, is equivalent to the cost of 12 weeks of White House tours for the public - a treasured tradition that the Secret Service says costs $74,000 a week and that has been axed under sequestration.