The monetary costs of criminal offending were calculated for a sample of 386 male offenders, between the ages of 12 and 26 years, in Ontario over a 15-year period. Cost estimates were obtained for four components: 1) victim costs; 2) correctional costs; 3) other criminal justice system (e.g., police, court, prosecution, legal aid) costs; and 4) undetected crimes. Results indicate that the aggregate longitudinal cost of offending for the sample was more than $671 million, or an average of $1.74 million per person. Factoring in undetected crime increased aggregate costs to $2.26 billion, or $5.86 million per person. The cost to victims for violent offending was approximately 10 times higher than for property offences ($165 million vs. $17 million). The costliest period was mid- to late adolescence, comprising individuals between the ages of 15 and 17, which accounted for 40% of the total costs. During this interval, youths within the study committed a relatively large number of property crimes, which resulted in open and closed custody dispositions, driving up correctional costs. The results of this study demonstrate that tremendous costs savings can be gained if effective developmental crime prevention programs successfully target high-risk youth early in their lives.
Christopher J. Koegl, David M. Day
Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, November 06, 2018