Study: Bristol Co. spends lowest amount per inmate in the state

DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — The Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth recently published a report finding Bristol County had the lowest cost to taxpayers per inmate.

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson told Eyewitness News he’s not surprised by the findings.

“We find ways to cut costs and be more efficient,” Hodgson said.

For the 2016 fiscal year, the report found it cost $41,013 to house an inmate in Bristol County. For comparison, Berkshire County had the highest cost per inmate, coming in at $87,579.

Hodgson credits a program he put in place that tracks costs throughout the day, including anomalies.

“How many meals are served a day to overtime, family medical leave, fire drills, cleanliness issues,” Hodgson said.

When asked if he ever worried that his cost-cutting measures go too far, he said, “no, actually I don’t think so. My staff is very attentive to what we are doing. Maintaining our quality and standards, but at the same time, look every day to find ways to do everything as efficiently as possible.”

The report did find Bristol County had the fourth highest health care costs per inmate in the state – ringing it at $7,355 in 2016.

Hodgson attributes that to several factors, including rising healthcare costs, an aging population, and the ongoing drug problem in the region.

The sheriff did say other departments have reached out to him to learn more about how he runs his department. He said if more departments implemented the system, it could save taxpayers millions of dollars.