Sunday, April 04, 2010

Police, judiciary costs rising as well as prisons

This blog focuses a great deal on prison costs, but the chart below from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that costs for police and the judiciary have also been escalating over the past 25 years:


Here's a link to the data underlying the chart. There's a lot of inflation represented in these numbers; i.e., the cost per conviction is rising. By contrast, the curve of additional felony convictions over the same period was increasing, but much less steep.

5 comments:

Matthew said...

State Mandated training (which is a good thing!) is not cheap for the citizens. However, I think we are still better off then when police officers were just handed their badge.

I think that police corruption was more widespread in times past however with blogs, news et cetera a police officer messes up in New York one day, then in Dallas then next it looks like the corruption is widespread when in reality it is just reported better than in times past.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I actually think it's reported much worse today! With so few newspapers anymore, crime coverage has gone to pot. Covering police corruption involves investigative reporting and there's not much of that. Today it's all "if it bleeds it leads."

Matthew said...

Well, I think that you mean that there is alot of "drive by reporting" I would agree with that.

Actual deep down corruption is not very well reported. But has it ever been?

It is a slap here, a punch there caught on camera or cell phone. You are right, that doesn't require much journalistic investigation.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

There was more investigative journalism on local topics back when there were 2 and 3 newspaper towns - more warm bodies doing the work, if nothing else. Certainly you're right that few generations are blessed with journalists gifted enough to expose corruption contemporaneously instead of as just legal coverage after somebody's been indicted or historical retrospective once it doesn't matter anymore.

Since we're on the topic: Take a look at Kevin Krause's and Ed Timms' work on constables up in Dallas, btw, for a great recent example of reporters ferreting out corruption on the front end proactively. That's one of the only big, recent examples I can think of where coverage wasn't driven by a court case or something of that nature but actually stemmed from hard working reporters digging up the goods. When there was more competition from multiple papers for similar stories, I do think the public got more of them. The TV stations and blogs just don't do that level of work.

Matthew said...

Thanks will do!