Costs of Crime in Alabama

Many of the inmates of the Alabama prison system began criminal careers with juvenile crime.

In January, 2014, Alabama’s prisons had more than 26,600 inmates with only 13,300 beds. The Alabama Department of Correction’s budget for 2015 was $400 million. For 2016 it is almost $500 million. Alabama prisons were described as “training camps for crime, especially young offenders” by the Alabama Supreme Court.

According to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, 173,916 crimes were reported in Alabama in 2013. These crimes resulted in 28,909 arrests for homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft. The value of property stolen was $245,853,680.

Alabama Rule of Criminal Procedure 28 provides extended comments on the need for judges to strongly consider alternatives to prison when sentencing persons convicted of crimes. Committee Commends to Rule 26.8 declare that, “(P)risons serve as training camps for crime, especially young offenders.”

Ken Seeley observes: two thirds of truant students will not graduate with their peers and will be charged with a criminal offense within two years (of persistent truancy). Data indicates that juvenile crime actually peaks during school hours when truant students are out of schools and unsupervised.[1]

Some of the dangers for the public of juvenile crime are:

  • Death by drunk or high drivers
  • Deadly home invasions
  • Muggings
  • Assaults
  • Senseless murders
  • Unsafe shopping centers
  • Rising prison costs that result in reductions in government services such as highway patrol officers
  • Danger at school
  • Disruption of learning processes at school
  • Potential for civil unrest
  • Destruction of property
  • Depressed property values

Nationwide Cost of Crime

Crime generates substantial costs to society at individual, community and national levels. In the United States, more than 23 million criminal offenses were committed in 2007, resulting in approximately $15 billion in economic losses to the victims and $179 billion in government expenditures on police protection, judicial and legal activities and corrections. [2][3][4]


  1. Truancy Matters for Schools and Courts — Our First Best Indicator of Poor Outcomes for Youth, by Ken Seeley.
  2. Cost of Violent Crimes
  3. The Cost of Crime to Society: New Crime-Specific Estimates for Policy and Program Evaluation
  4. Domestic violence victims have higher health costs for years after abuse ends

Upcoming Events

4th Annual Child Advocacy Day
VOICES for Alabama’s Children
Montgomery, AL
March 16, 2017
“Helping Families Initiative”
Alabama District Attorneys Association
Fairhope, AL
April 6–9, 2017
“Next Generation of K-12 Indicator and response Systems to Increase Students’ Post-Secondary Readiness and Persistence”
A Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supported initiative, sponsored by the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland
May 1–3, 2017
“Getting Better at Getting Better”
Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education
San Francisco, CA
March 26–30, 2017
“Breaking Down Barriers — Humanity Matters”
National Association of Social Workers — Alabama
Bryant Conference Center
Tuscaloosa, AL
April 24–25, 2017