Costs of Career Criminals: A Victimization Perspective

Jewel Gatling, Iowa State University
Matt DeLisi, Iowa State University

Although criminal career research is a dominant paradigm in the discipline, virtually no research of the victimization costs of habitual offenders exists. The current study eseeks to fill this void using a population fo 500 offenders who qualified for habitual offender status (minimum of 30 arrests) upon booking into an urban jail in the western United States. An array of dependent variables were used to assess victimization costs, including medical care, mental health care, quality of life, and future earnings; governmental costs such as police, judicial and correctional expenditures; and indirect or intangible costs such as fear of crime. On average, the lfietime costs wrought by an individual career criminal are approimately $5 million. Moreover, the direct and collateral consequences of the assorted victimization cased by habitual offenders are inclalculable. We conclude that, per capita, career criminals are among the most socially costly individuals in American society.

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Updated 05/20/2006