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Crime cost

"Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. prison population — 576,000 people — are behind bars with no compelling public safety reason, according to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. The first-of-its-kind analysis provides a blueprint for how the country can drastically cut its prison population while still keeping crime rates near historic lows."


Sections cover: the current prison population; time served in prison today; ending prison for lower-level crimes; reducing time served for other crimes; and recommendations and cost savings.

Cover image for How many Americans are Unnecessarily Incarcerated

"Crime and high rates of incarceration impose tremendous costs on society, with lasting negative effects on individuals, families, and communities. Rates of crime in the United States have been falling steadily, but still constitute a serious economic and social challenge. At the same time, the incarceration rate in the United States is so high—more than 700 out of every 100,000 people are incarcerated—that both crime scholars and policymakers alike question whether, for nonviolent criminals in particular, the social costs of incarceration exceed the social benefits … Despite the ongoing decline in crime, the incarceration rate in the United States remains at a historically unprecedented level. This high incarceration rate can have profound effects on society" and is extremely expensive for state and federal agencies (p. 1). This policy memo provides a clear and concise explanation of the impacts of incarceration on communities in the United States. The ten facts are organized into three chapters: the landscape of crime in the U.S.—offenders and victims; the extraordinary growth of mass incarceration in the U.S.; and the economic and social costs of crime and incarceration. Some of these facts include: the majority of criminal offenders are younger than age thirty; federal and state policies have driven up the incarceration rate over the past thirty years; and per capita expenditures on corrections more than tripled over the same time period.

Ten Economic Facts about Crime and Incarceration in the United States Cover

"Crime and high rates of incarceration impose tremendous costs on society, with lasting negative effects on individuals, families, and communities. These high costs highlight the need for both effective crime-prevention strategies and smart sentencing policies, in addition to strategies for reaching at-risk youths. On May 1st, The Hamilton Project at Brookings hosted a forum and released three new papers focusing on crime and incarceration in the United States … [Panels] discussed a new proposal by Steven Raphael of UC Berkeley and Michael Stoll of UCLA for reducing incarceration rates in the United States through sentencing reform and changes to the financial incentives facing state and local governments. A second panel discussed a new proposal by Jens Ludwig and Anuj Shah, both of the University of Chicago, outlining a strategy for scaling out an educational program—the "Becoming a Man" (BAM) program —to help disadvantaged youths recognize high-stakes situations in which their automatic responses may lead to trouble." The forum was comprised of three parts: "Welcome and Introductions" by Robert E. Rubin; Roundtable One: "A New Approach to Reducing Incarceration While Maintaining Low Rates of Crime" with Steven Raphael, Michael Stoll. Dean Esserman, Christine DeBerry, Daniel Nagin, and Melissa S. Kearney; and Roundtable Two: "A New Approach to Preventing Youth Violence and Dropout" with Jens Ludwig, Elizabeth Glazer, Robert Listenbee, Laurence Steinberg, and Jim Tankersley. This website offers access to abstracts for the three released papers from The Hamilton Project; the full event transcript (unedited); press release and pull quotes; audio for the three parts; event photos; video for the three parts; and the three papers on crime and incarceration in the United States. The three papers are "Ten Economic Facts about Crime and Incarceration in the United States" by The Hamilton Project, "A New Approach to Reducing Incarceration While Maintaining Low Rates of Crime" by Steven Raphael and Michael Stoll, and "Think Before You Act: A New Approach to Preventing Youth Violence and Dropout" by Jens Ludwig and Anuj Shah.

The Economic and Social Effects of Crime and Mass Incarceration in the United States Cover
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