The cost of keeping a prisoner in Canberra's jail is the most expensive in Australia but those behind bars in the ACT take the most advantage of vocational training and education.
The 2019-20 report on government services found that it cost ACT taxpayers $420.50 per day to feed, house and provide support for each of the 444 prisoners which the Alexander Maconochie Centre held on average in 2019-20.
But more alarmingly from the report data is how fast the cost of keeping Canberra's prisoners rose - up 37.6 per cent in a single reporting year since 2018-19.
Across Australia, the average daily cost of keeping a person behind bars in 2019-20 was $247.18.
The net operating expense of Canberra's prison for 2019-20 was $68.1 million, the report disclosed. This is the cheapest in the country with NSW's yearly prison bill, encompassing 32 government-run facilities and two private ones, the most expensive, topping out at over $1 billion.
For ideological reasons - in which the ACT government is opposed to a non-organised, low-paid labour force generating products and services which would compete with companies outside the wire - the high cost of running Canberra's prison has never been able to be offset by income generation, as happens elsewhere.
For instance in NSW, 47.8 per cent of prisoners are employed in commercial industries. In the ACT, there are none.
In NSW, 47.8 per cent of prisoners are employed in commercial industries. In the ACT, there are none.
But 80.6 per cent of ACT inmates are engaged in internal service industries - such as the bakery - which cost money to run but generate little or no income.
The ACT leads the country in the percentage of eligible prisoners who are engaged in some form of training.
In the ACT, 36.4 per cent of eligible prisoners were doing pre-certificate Level 1 courses. and 75.6 per cent were engaged in some form of vocational education and training.
Prisoners spent 9.1 hours of their cells at the ACT jail, which is around the same as Queensland, but less than NSW (8.2 hours), Victoria (10.2) and West Australia (11.3).