U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites always use a .gov or .mil domain. Before sharing sensitive information online, make sure you’re on a .gov or .mil site by inspecting your browser’s address (or “location”) bar.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

The Price of Justice: New National and State-Level Estimates of the Judicial and Legal Costs of Crime to Taxpayers

NCJ Number
252238
Date Published
Author(s)
Priscillia Hunt, James Anderson, Jessica Saunders
Annotation
Since there is limited crime-specific information on the legal system resources that would be freed up for other purposes across states, this study used a Monte Carlo simulation approach to take into account uncertainty in the data to estimate the national average costs to taxpayers for judicial/legal services per reported crime.
Abstract
Programs that prevent crime cost money. In order to efficiently allocate these limited funds, we need to know how much people benefit from crime prevention. The current study found that the national average costs to taxpayers for judicial/legal services per reported crime are likely around the following (in 2010 dollars): $22,000–$44,000 (homicide), $2000–$5000 (rape and sexual assault), $600–$1300 (robbery), $800–$2100 (aggravated assault), $200–$600 (burglary), $300–$600 (larceny/theft), and $200–$400 (motor vehicle theft). At a state-level, the costs of crime are 50 percent to 70 percent more or less than these national averages, depending on the crime type and state. These estimates can be used to understand the level of resources spent per crime and the potential legal resources freed up for a change in reported crime rates; they are not a measure of waste or efficiency, but it is hoped this study contributes to this debate. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Created: March 10, 2019