Potential monetary benefits of saving a high-risk youth, based on lifetime costs associated with the typical career criminal, drug abuser, and high school dropout, are estimated at $1.7 to $2.3 million.
Intervention programs targeting high-risk youth are designed to prevent high school dropouts, crime, drug abuse, and other forms of delinquency. Even if shown to be successful in reducing one or more social ills, a key policy question is whether costs to society from an intervention program exceed benefits. Because cost data on intervention programs are often available but benefit data are more elusive, the authors estimate potential monetary benefits of saving a high-risk youth by estimating lifetime costs associated with the typical career criminal, drug abuser, and high school dropout. In the absence of controlled experimental data on the number of career criminals averted, the key question becomes how many career criminals must be prevented before an intervention program pays for itself. Based on a 2- percent discount rate, the typical career criminal results in $1.3 to $1.5 million in external costs, a heavy drug user $370,000 to $970,000 and a high school dropout $243,000 to $388,000. Eliminating duplication between crimes committed by individuals who are both heavy drug users and career criminals results in an overall estimate of the monetary value of saving a high-risk youth of $1.7 to $2.3 million. Limitations and policy implications of the findings are addressed. 52 references and 8 tables
- Youth Dually-Involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems: Varying definitions and their associations with trauma exposure, posttraumatic stress, & offending
- Predicting Fingerprint Age Based on Ozonolysis Kinetics of Unsaturated Triacylglycerol Degradation
- The Impact of False or Misleading Forensic Evidence on Wrongful Convictions