IPRT is acutely aware that crime and punishment is not being discussed very much in the context of the economic meltdown of our society; however, ignoring the crime dimension to current financial decisions will have lasting negative effects for the economy and the society into the future. Trimming individual budget-lines without an appreciation of the consequences of those cuts for other areas of public policy is simply false economy, blind to the indirect costs of increasing marginalisation.
In our Budget 2011 submission 'Spending Cuts and Crime Implications', IPRT highlights the cost of crime: the profound economic and social price of offending behaviour for the individual, the community and society.
From this starting point, we identify some of the most sensitive areas of social spending and point to the clear evidence, both national and international, that cuts to services in these areas are likely to contribute to higher crime-rates and therefore be counter-productive from a financial perspective.
We also look in detail at some of the areas of justice spending at present, and to the incoherence and wastefulness of our current justice policy, which is weighted towards ineffective punishment measures and under-resourcing crime prevention and diversion approaches. There is a real danger that the current crisis will deepen this imbalance by precipitating cuts in probation and reintegration programmes while retaining the current policies and practices that are driving up our prison population at a cost of almost €100,000 per prisoner per year.
It is easy to ignore the crime dimension to our current crisis, but it is worth remembering the mistakes of the 1980s where ignoring the cost of poor policies and under-funding directly led to many of the acute social problems that are still at the centre of our crime problems today.
Download the IPRT Submission to Budget 2011 'Spending Cuts and Crime Implications' by clicking on the icon above.