Recently D.C. Lawyers for Youth calculated that it cost $1000 to arrest and detain a youth in Washington, D.C., even though most young people are arrested for nonviolent offenses and fewer than half are actually charged with a crime.
Here is the excellent infographic they prepared to illustrate this phenomenon:
After looking at this, I wondered how much it cost to arrest and detain a youth where I practice in North Carolina. The National Juvenile Justice Network not only has developed a toolkit that provides a step-by-step guide for calculating these costs in your area, but they are hosting a webinar on January 9th that will walk through the toolkit and answer your questions.
Now we have no excuse for not knowing how much the arrest and detention of youth costs in the U.S. As we know, growing budget shortfalls have intensified policymakers’ interest in crafting cost-effective policies for youth in trouble with the law. Determining the costs associated with each stage of the juvenile justice process is a critical part of these efforts.