Costs of incarceration

Topics: Prison, Crime, Recidivism Pages: 7 (2317 words) Published: September 23, 2013


Costs of Incarceration
Introduction to Corrections

Incarceration Costs
Money is a huge issue with problems in America and in America the costs for corrections is going up every year. Some may argue that this is because of more people getting in trouble, jails are too full, or others may argue that the programs are not working to cut down recidivism rates. Regardless of what argument one makes this research paper shows results on how worth a program is based on money and recidivism rates and whether or not incarceration should be an option to reduce recidivism. In 2009, the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) requested $6.8 billion for prisoner detention, which is an increase of $136,000,000 from 2008 (USDOJ, 2008). Concurrently, a conservative estimate of the cost for one career criminal a decade ago was $1,500,000 (Cohen, 1998) and has now substantially increased to between $2,600,000 to $5,300,000 (Cohen & Piquero, 2009). Similarly, the direct cost of incarceration is approximately $20,000 to $40,000 per offender (Spelman, 2009). Tax payers, who financially support the justice system, are forced into an economic and social bind. Money like this is the reason why research is being done to see whether or not the tax payers’ dollars are really worth the spending on incarceration or other options. If the average cost of incarceration is $20,000 to $40,000 per offender then imagine separate programs that the prisoner’s will go through to cut their time down. The biggest issue here is not wasting the money on prisoner’s to just lower sentencing, but rather help fix the offender and get him/her back on the streets a better person and to not come back. In other words try and cut down recidivism rates. RNR

The principal that the correctional system is set up to follow in order to help offenders is on a risk-need-responsibility or RNR principal (Andrews et al., 1990a). The purpose of the study was to determine whether or not programs that adhered to the RNR principal were more expensive or not. Researched showed that programs based on RNR were not much more significantly expensive than programs that did not use RNR principals (Andrews et al., 1990a). The reason why one should push towards the use of programs that hold true to the RNR principal is because of the reduction in recidivism rates (Andrews et al., 1990a). There are many programs out there that are significantly much more expensive and people are paying for it with their tax money and the recidivism rates are not that good compared to other studies done that includes the risk, need, and responsibility principal. Recidivism RNR

The article “Treating Criminal Behavior” also, speaks about inappropriate corrections, unspecified corrections, and appropriate corrections. Inappropriate corrections include psychosocial interventions that did not adhere to principals of RNR (Marion, 2002). Unspecified correctional services included interventions that, after a review, were ambiguous and lacked specificity regarding adherence to principles of RNR (Marion, 2002). Appropriate correctional services included interventions that did adhere to principles of RNR (Marion, 2002). All experimental groups were compared to a control group that received a traditional punishment. As predicted, the research found that appropriate correctional services significantly reduced recidivism by, on average, 30% when compared to correction services as usual. Inappropriate correctional services did not significantly reduce recidivism, and unspecified correctional services were more effective than receiving no services. Cost Effectiveness of RNR Programs

Costs effectiveness is something that research finds very hard to measure, but it is one of the biggest issues pertaining to corrections. There are two ways of measuring cost effectiveness and the two ways are tangible costs and intangible costs (Marion, 2002). Tangible costs are all the costs that have monetary value....
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