Juvenile Justice News
Report Says Alternatives Could Save U.S. $10 Billion in Corrections Costs
A National Council on Crime and Delinquency report, “The Extravagance of Imprisonment Revisited,” says the nation could save $9.7 billion by utilizing alternatives to prisons and jails for low-level offenses. The report also calculated potential cost savings for four of the largest states, concluding that California could save at least $1.4 billion, Texas $2.4 billion, New York $1.1 billion and Florida $271 million. Beyond these initial benefits, the report shows there would be ongoing and significant annual cost savings.
As of 2008, approximately 414,000 men and women in the United States were incarcerated for nonviolent, nonsexual crimes not involving significant property loss. The vast majority of these prisoners could be eligible for effective and cost-saving sanctions such as drug courts, drug treatment, electronic monitoring or work release programs. The report compared the costs for these alternatives to the current costs of incarceration for 80 percent of the eligible incarcerated population.
Dr. Barry Krisberg, author of the report and president at NCCD from 1983 to 2009, said that in this era of fiscal crisis, states and localities cannot afford to continue to rely on expensive and counterproductive secure confinement for nonviolent and non-serious offenders.
“The extravagance of incarceration that plagues the criminal justice system is also a major issue for juvenile justice,” Krisberg said. “At the Annie E. Casey Foundation JDAI has proven that secure detention for youth can be safely reduced, with substantial cost savings that can be reinvested in other vital children's services. The JDAI model could be very effective in reforming the overuse of jails and prisons for the low-end adult offenders. “
Download the report
< JDAI Newsletter
Next Juvenile Justice News >