While inmates at Guantanamo Bay prison continue their hunger strike, President Barack Obama renewed his long- time vow to close the controversial prison.
Obama said at a White House press conference yesterday that the prison was “not sustainable” and that the problem will not get better. “It's going to get worse. It's going to fester.”
The president did not announce a timeline for closing the prison, which was opened by the Bush White House in 2002. Nor can he do it alone: Congress has passed a number of laws restricting transfer of prisoners from the camp, with Republicans arguing that terrorists should not be held in prisons on the homeland.
The camp has already cost the United States hundreds of millions of dollars to operate and maintain. The horrible damage it’s done to the reputation of the United States around the world is simply impossible to quantify.
As Obama said yesterday, “[Guantanamo] is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counter-terrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed.”
Here’s a look at the Guantanamo Bay prison, by the numbers:
$150 million: Approximate annual cost to operate Guantanamo.
$25,000: Annual cost to taxpayer of a federal prisoner.
$904,000: Annual cost to taxpayer of a Guantanamo prisoner.
$3,000-$25 million: Range of bounty payment the United States has offered for terrorists.
779: Total number of inmates incarcerated in the history of the camp
166: Current number of inmates at the camp.
100: The number of inmates who are currently refusing to eat.
21: The number of prisoners who are currently being sustained with liquid supplements, which are being delivered by feeding tubes.
1: Number of detainees transferred to the United States for prosecution.
335: Number of people convicted of terrorist acts being held on U.S. soil.
98: The number of jails on U.S. soil where these terrorists are housed.
0: The number of terrorist prisoners who have escaped a jail on U.S. soil.
Information from the Government Accountability Office, Human Rights First, and numerous news reports.