The Monetary Costs to Society of Male Juvenile Offending in an Urban Setting

Brandon C. Welsh, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Rolf Loeber, University of Pittsburgh
Mark A. Cohen, Vanderbilt University
David P. Farrington, University of Cambridge
Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, University of Pittsburgh

The monetary costs of juvenile offending are wide ranging. There are tangible costs to victims, such as replacing stolen goods and repairing damage, and intangible costs such as pain, suffering, and lost quality of life. There are costs to the government or taxpayer for police, courts, prisons, crime prevention activities, and so on. There are also costs to offenders, for example, those associated with personal victimization. Prior studies have been based on officially identified offenders rather than the much larger population of offenders as evident from juvenile offending in an urban setting. The sample comprises the youngest cohort of boys in the Pittsburgh Youth Study. Using self-reports of offending, estimates are produced on the monetary costs to society of male juvenile offending by this cohort. Key issues investigated include: the level of resources expended by the juvenile justice system to process offenders; the monetary costs of tangible and intangible losses to crime victims; and the monetary burden of crime imposed by different categories of offenders (i.e., early versus late onset).

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Updated 05/20/2006