Massively Expensive: Gitmo Costs Nearly $1 Million Per Detainee

Island Prison 'Extremely Inefficient'

Pentagon estimates put the cost of running Guantanamo Bay at over $900,000 per detainee, roughly 15 times the cost of keeping a prisoner at a US supermax prison, and roughly 30 times the average federal prison in the US.

That’s an awful lot of money to keep the 166 detainees in custody, particularly when one considers a number of them have already been cleared for release, and are simply being held indefinitely irrespective of that.

Officials explain the massive cost because the prison is in Cuba, and the US has no real relations with Cuba, so they have to ship everything to the prison on military aircraft.

The price tag could be rising precipitously in the near future as well, with the military having to rush 40 additional medical personal to the facility just to cope with the growing problems associated with a hunger strike, which over 100 detainees are participating in. Though the military has downplayed the number of detainees facing serious health risks, the sheer manpower required to force-feed them and treat them when they pass out is sure to add to the bottom line.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.