The Benefits to Taxpayers from Increases in Students' Educational Attainment

By Stephen J. Carroll; Emre Erkut | Go to book overview

APPENDIX D
Incarceration Cost Estimations

Our approach to estimating incarceration spending is a variant of the two-part model. The first part estimates the likelihood of becoming an inmate and uses individual data from surveys of the criminal justice system and the general population. The second part uses administrative data to calculate per-person estimated incarceration spending, like some social support and insurance programs for which benefit data are not available in surveys.


Probability of Incarceration

Prisons

We estimate the probability of imprisonment at the individual level as the number of prisoners in each demographic category divided by the general population for that category. We use the 1997 administration of the Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities to estimate the incarcerated population for each combination of education level, age, race/ethnicity, and gender. We use the 1997 Current Population Survey to estimate general population counts in each corresponding subgroup. Because the Current Population Survey does not include incarcerated persons, we calculate the probability of incarceration as the number of prisoners in each population category divided by the sum of the general population and the number of prisoners for that category. Per-person prison spending computed from the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice 2003 (Pastore and Maguire, 2007), shown in Table 5.2, constitutes the second part of the two-part model.


Jails

We estimate the probability of being jailed at the individual level as the number of jail inmates in each demographic category divided by the general population for that category. We use the 2002 Survey of Inmates of Local Jails to estimate the jail population for each combination of education level, age, race/ethnicity, and gender. We use the 2002 Current Population Survey to estimate general population counts in each corresponding subgroup. Here, too, because the Current Population Survey does

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