Ten Economic Facts about Crime and Incarceration
Date:  05-20-2014

African American males without a highs school diploma have a 70 percent chance of being incarcerated
The Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project’s introduction to its policy memo “Ten Economic Facts about Crime and Incarceration in the United States” provides some facts that reveal the collateral consequences of crime:

“While there is significant focus on America’s incarceration policies, it is important to consider that crime continues to be a concern for policymakers, particularly at the state and local levels. Public spending on fighting crime—including the costs of incarceration, policing, and judicial and legal services—as well as private spending by households and businesses is substantial. There are also tremendous costs to the victims of crime, such as medical costs, lost earnings, and an overall loss in quality of life. Crime also stymies economic growth. For example, exposure to violence can inhibit effective schooling and other developmental outcomes (Burdick-Will 2013; Sharkey et al. 2012). Crime can induce citizens to migrate; economists estimate that each nonfatal violent crime reduces a city’s population by approximately one person, and each homicide reduces a city’s population by seventy persons (Cullen and Levitt 1999; Ludwig and Cook 2000). To the extent that migration diminishes a locality’s tax and consumer base, departures threaten a city’s ability to effectively educate children, provide social services, and maintain a vibrant economy.”

The ten facts ten facts in the policy memo are:

1. Crime rates have steadily declined over the past twenty-five years

2. Low-income individuals are more likely than higher-income individuals to be victims of crime.

3. The majority of criminal offenders are younger than age thirty.

4. Disadvantaged youths engage in riskier criminal behavior.

5. Federal and state policies have driven up the incarceration rate over the past thirty years.

6. The U.S. incarceration rate is more than six times that of the typical OECD nation.

7. There is nearly a 70 percent chance that an African American man without a high school diploma will be imprisoned by his mid-thirties.

8. Per capita expenditures on corrections more than tripled over the past thirty years.

9. By their fourteenth birthday, African American children whose fathers do not have a high school diploma are more likely than not to see their fathers incarcerated.

10. Juvenile incarceration can have lasting impacts on a young person's future.

The economic factors associated with each fact can be viewed here.

Source: PrisonReformMovement