Article

Costs of Crime and Justice

Mark Cohen

in Criminology

ISBN: 9780195396607
Published online May 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0076
Costs of Crime and Justice

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Estimating the costs of crime and justice is a useful exercise for many different reasons. Just knowing the aggregate costs of crime and justice helps us to understand and compare the impact of crime relative to other social ills. When combined with estimates of the effectiveness of programs, cost estimates of the criminal justice system, for example, can be used to determine the effectiveness of various policy options (“cost effectiveness” analysis). Finally, when estimates of the cost of crime itself are available, analysts can compare the costs of programs to their benefits (“cost-benefit” analysis). To do so requires both a clear understanding of whose “costs” are to be estimated (e.g., victims, taxpayers) as well as a determination of which methodology will be used to estimate those costs. This emerging field requires considerable judgment and methodologies because estimating costs are still being debated in the academic and policy literatures. This makes comparison of existing estimates perilous, as one can easily be comparing apples to oranges without a deep understanding of how each study was conducted. Nevertheless, the importance of estimating costs is becoming recognized by government policy analysts and researchers around the world.

Article.  9218 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Criminal Justice ; Criminology

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