This preliminary study attempted to assess the feasibility of comparing the comprehensive societal costs of various correctional alternative decisions and to determine whether the results may be more informative in policy decisions than the limited cost information presently used. The financial consequences, including costs of government services and other costs imposed on society attributable to a sample of convicted burglars were derived for a two-year period. The median monthly costs of incarceration and community corrections were approximately equal because new crimes were a major component of the cost of community corrections. Similarly, the mean monthly cost of community corrections was more than twice that of incarceration. On this basis, it appears that incarcerating all burglars presently in community corrections (assuming the cells were available) would either reduce crime at no additional cost or save money. Incarcerating only those who were more expensive in the community than in prison would be an even greater savings. Further work is needed to validate these preliminary findings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine