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Abstract

In combating crime in America, little attention has been paid to keeping children from becoming criminals. What benefit might be realized from such an approach, and at what cost? Working from limited data on program efficacy and on criminal careers, the authors of this report made rough estimates of the costs and benefits of four early interventions — prenatal home visits by child care professionals, followed by four years of day care; training for parents with young children who have shown aggressive behavior; incentives to induce disadvantaged high-school students to graduate; and monitoring and supervising young delinquents. All except the first appeared to be at least as cost-effective as a popular but very different approach to crime reduction — California's three-strikes law. The advantages of parent training and graduation incentives in particular are so large that some advantage is likely to be found even under assumptions differing substantially from those made here.

Table of Contents

  • Preface PDF

  • Figures PDF

  • Tables PDF

  • Summary PDF

  • Acknowledgments PDF

  • Chapter One

    Introduction PDF

  • Chapter Two

    Opportunities for Intervention in Development PDF

  • Chapter Three

    Estimating the Direct Costs and Benefits of Alternative Approaches PDF

  • Chapter Four

    Conclusions and Policy Implications PDF

  • Appendix A

    Some Research Findings on Early Intervention PDF

  • Appendix B

    Detailed Cost-Effectiveness Results PDF

  • References PDF

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.