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How to Calculate the Average Costs of Detaining a Youth

“This toolkit demonstrates how to calculate the average costs of housing a youth in detention. There are numerous ways to calculate the cost of detention, and detention administrators across states and even within states may arrive at their costs through different methods. This toolkit will help readers understand what components are typically included in a detention cost estimate, why one would or would not choose to include these elements, and what additional costs and revenues could be incorporated in the calculation of costs to detain youth” (p. 1). What makes this toolkit an amazing resource is that it uses a case study to show you how to do a cost estimate.

Sections of this publication cover: about this toolkit; how to use the toolkit; basic how-to; how to calculate the average costs of detaining a youth; and frequently asked questions. The process of calculating the cost entails: Step One-determine which agencies have the information you need; Step Two-locate budget information; Step Three-locate detention statistics on average daily population and average length of stay (LOS); and Step Four-do the math.