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Sticker Shock: Calculating the Full Price Tag for Youth Incarceration

Thirty-three U.S. states and jurisdictions spend $100,000 or more annually to incarcerate a young person, and continue to generate outcomes that result in even greater costs. Our new report, Sticker Shock: Calculating the Full Price Tag for Youth Incarceration, provides estimates of the overall costs resulting from the negative outcomes associated with incarceration. The report finds that these long-term consequences of incarcerating young people could cost taxpayers $8 billion to $21 billion each year.


Sticker Shock: Calculating the Full Price Tag for Youth Incarceration

Executive Summary


Press Release

FACTSHEET: The tip of the iceberg: What taxpayers pay to incarcerate youth (Citations)

FACTSHEET: U.S. Youth Incarceration in an International Perspective

Media Coverage

OP-ED: Costs to Incarcerate Young People Tip of Iceberg (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange)

89.7 WKSU (Kent OH)

90.7 WMFE (Orlando) (Alabama)

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Capital Public Radio (Sacramento)

Dayton Daily News

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Montana Public Radio

New England Public Radio (Massachusetts)

Northern Public Radio (Illinois)

Omaha Public Radio

Pacific Standard

PBS Frontline

Pensacola News Journal

Providence Journal

The Baltimore Sun

The Bergen Dispatch

The Columbus Dispatch

The Crime Report

The Florida Times-Union

The Houston Chronicle

The Sacramento Bee

The Seattle Times

The StarTribune (Minneapolis)

The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

The Washington Post

The Youth Project

U.S. News & World Report

Utah Public Radio

Winston-Salem Journal

Additional Resources

The information contained in Sticker Shock is based on emerging and new work that seeks to quantify what the long-term costs incarceration can have on young people, taxpayers and our communities, and what action policymakers can take to reduce these costs, and help young people. 

Along with Sticker Shock, JPI recommends these other additional resources to help the field build its understanding of these issues:

Cost Benefit Analysis Unit of the Vera Institute of Justice

Washington State Institute for Public Policy

The Economic Value of Opportunity Youth  (2012)—Research for the Corporation for National and Community Service and the White House Council for Community Solutions

Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol

Journal of Quantitative Criminology

Positive Youth Justice

Costs and Benefits of Rehabilitation: How the Public Views Policy Alternatives (MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice)

National Juvenile Justice Network Fiscal Policy Center

Tip Sheet on the Costs of Community-Based Supervision

No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration

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Other JPI Works on the Use of Secure Confinement

Common Ground: Lessons Learned from Five States that Reduced Juvenile Confinement by More than Half

Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut: How Collaboration and Commitment Have Improved Public Safety and Outcomes for Youth

Cost Effective Youth Corrections: Rationalizing the Fiscal Architecture of Juvenile Justice Systems

The Dangers of Detention: The Impact of Incarcerating Youth in Detention and Other Secure Facilities

Posted in Criminal Justice (Adult), Fiscal Policy, Juvenile Justice, Positive Social Investments, Racial Disparities

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We envision a society with safe, equitable and healthy communities; just and effective solutions to social problems; and the use of incarceration only as a last resort. Please help us end the #IncarcerationGeneration with a generous contribution.

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