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Prison is a bargain

100,000 regular offenders cause half of all crime. Lock 'em up

By David G Green   September 2002

The government is worried about the cost of prison, but its own studies show that incarceration is a cheap option. According to the 2001 white paper, “Criminal Justice: the Way Ahead,” about 100,000 regular offenders are responsible for roughly half of all crime. The Home Office has estimated the total cost of crime to be about ?60 billion and, if true, this would mean that persistent offenders cost ?30 billion, or ?300,000 per year each. Locking them up at the official average cost of only ?37,500 per year is a bargain.

Recent prison statistics highlight the government’s dilemma. It is…

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