[James Q. Wilson, guest-blogging, June 9, 2008 at 5:40pm] Trackbacks
The Costs and Benefits of Prison:

Several readers have said that prison would be fine if it did not cost so much. They typically quote the figure of $25,000 per year per inmate. Nobody knows if that is the right number, but let us assume that it is. Anne Morrison Piehl, Bert Useem, and others have estimated the costs of crime. Their calculations, presented in the book Prison State, shows that property and assault crimes committed by the median (50th percentile) offender in Wisconsin, New Jersey, New York, Arizona, and New Mexico range from $26,000 to $46,000. It would seem that prison pays: crimes avoided exceed the annual cost per inmate of locking them up.