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If the medical community, Marion Wright Edelman (Children’s Defense Fund)

and former MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz

are right, the vast majority of crime in America

is the result of what happened to that person as a child.

America maintains one of the highest rate of incarceration of any nation on earth with:

5% of the world population & 25% of it’s prisoners.

2.3 million prisoners, 4.5 million Americans on parole &

about 8 million Americans with prior histories of incarceration & parole &

between 8 and 10 million Americans arrested every year or,

about 27 million Americans involved in the criminal justice system.

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California and Arizona have used failed 3rd grade test scores to assist in forecasting prison capacity growth.  (Corrections Digest, April 12, 2002)

In 2022,  23% of Black and American Indian third graders in Minneapolis MN read at grade level.

6.11.21 NY votes to raise the minimum age of arrest from 7 to 12  and considers prohibiting the shackling of children and youth in family court.

Louisiana  (the World’s Prison Capitol), Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma & several other states have incarceration rates 20 times that of incarceration rates in most other industrialized nations.  The best prisons in the world release good neighbors back into the community American prisons release hardened criminals with mental health problems and an 80% chance of recidivism within five years and 90% within nine years. Chicago Sheriff Thomas Dart at Aspen (100 million Americans have a criminal record)

Consider this; Japan has 120 million citizens and 77,000 incarcerated citizens.

The U.S. has 327 million citizens and 2,400,000 incarcerated citizens –

many of them children tried as adults.

Prison life sentences have quadrupled while the minimum age

for imprisonment has dropped since the 1980’s

Below are the statistics and research used to calculate the cost of crime in America today

It would be a smart to know the cost of crime and

how much would be saved by fixing it (start here)


100 million Americans have a criminal record, 77% of inmates are arrested for a new crime within five years of their release from prison,

30.2% of Americans are arrested by their 23rd birthday, African Americans are incarcerated at 5 times the rate of whites & Black children 42% of children who are detained & 52% of children whose cases go to criminal court.

37% of American children are reported to Child Protective Services by their 23rd birthday,

Abused children are 9 times more likely to be involved in criminal activity.  ACE study from 2006 criminality* in families.  Richard Ross Children in prison

Annually, 200,000 juveniles charged as adults.

  • A criminal record can reduce the likelihood of a callback or job offer by nearly 50 percent. The negative impact of a criminal record is twice as large for African American applicants.
  • Infectious diseases are highly concentrated in corrections facilities: 15% of jail inmates and 22% of prisoners – compared to 5% of the general population – reported ever having tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and C, HIV/AIDS, or other STDs.
  • Spending on prisons and jails has increased at triple the rate of spending on Pre‐K‐12 public education in the last thirty years.

Each burglary costs $41,288.00, (1,410,000 crimes * $41,288.00= $59,216,080,000.00) Washington University St Louis Study Iowa State University Cost of Crime Study

Each armed robbery costs $335,733.00, 41% of 332,198 robberies were committed with a gun * 136,201.00 = $45,727,170,333.00

Each aggravated assault costs $145,379.00 (744,000 crimes * $145,379.00 = $108,161,976,000.00

Each rape costs $448,000.00 (99,856 crimes * $448.000.00 = $44,735,488,000.00)

Each murder costs $17,252,656.00 * 17,250 murders = 297,608,316,000.00

Cases without the death penalty cost $740,000, where the death penalty is sought cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population.

There are 2708 Americans on death row;

2708 at $131,000,000 yr avg cost to maintain * 15 yr avg on Death Row =1,965,000,000.00 (2708 prisoners cost 2 Billion dollars)

Shootings Cost $174 billion Annually in the U.S.

America has 5% of the world’s population and 25% its prison population. 2,220,300 Americans in jails and prisons & 4,751,400 on parole.

Recidivism is near 80%

66% of incarcerated juveniles have mental health problems & half that number have multiple, serious and chronic mental illness.


Annual actual cost of crime in America is more than 1 trillion dollars Iowa Cost of Crime Study;

Burglary 41,288.00 1410000 58,216,080,000.00
Armed Robbery 335,733.00 136201 45,727,170,333.00
Aggravated AssaulT 145,379.00 744000 108,161,976,000.00
Rape 448,000.00 99856 44,735,488,000.00
Murder 17,252,656.00 17250 297,608,316,000.00


Among the 45 states that provided data (representing 1.29 million of the 1.33 million total people incarcerated in all 50 state prison systems), the total cost per inmate averaged $33,274 and ranged from a low of $14,780 in Alabama to a high of$69,355 in New York.

The Price of Prisons – Prison spending in 2015 …

*Several states including California and Arizona have used early grade test scores to assist in forecasting required prison capacity growth. Corrections Digest, April 12, 2002

KARA has been reporting and speaking on data and

critical issues impacting abused and neglected children for many years.

This article submitted by long time CASA guardian ad Litem Mike Tikkanen

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