29 October 2009




By Gail Lakritz

The following is a cost analysis of whether or not to prosecute domestic violence as a crime.  My conclusions are frightening to myself, as it should be to the entire nation.  It is not so much a crisis of violence, but a crisis of economics. 

One of the reasons that abusers are not jailed for domestic violence is that DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A PROFIT CENTER .

FOR ATTORNEYS: The revolving door of court assures attorneys of a never ending source of income. If prison were the reward for domestic violence from the first offense, attorneys would not have their bottomless pits of income. Abusers are abusers for their entire lives. Attorneys are the ones who dictate laws. They are not going to cut off their own noses.  According to the Michigan Bar Association, five percent of lawyers practice in Family Law.(2)  Projecting this figure across the United states and basing it on the number of lawyers  according to the ABA, there are 58,106 Family Law attorneys in the United States, however, not all lawyers are members of the American Bar Association.  Traditionally, the ABA membership is only comprised of large law firms, having shunned the inclusion of the small firm in the past. (3)  According to the Michigan Bar Association, the only state bar association this author could find to publish the figures quoted, the only larger specialty was Litigation or "trial lawyers". (2)

FOR EMPLOYERS:  There needs to be, for our society and economic system to function, a certain percentage of people who are beaten down enough to accept the lower paying service jobs. Victims of abuse are forced into these jobs by circumstances. Most suffer from PTSD and are unable to find and hold a well paying job. Abusers often place impediments in the way of a good job. Repeated court dates for the victim, hospital visits due to abuse and workplace interruptions caused by the abuser are not something an employer is willing to put up with for very long, so the victim is forced to take these lower paying jobs that do not check references, thereby discovering a history of missed work. The restaurant industry, hotels, retailers and even schools need victims to keep costs down. Victims offer ready source of bodies to fill low paying jobs. 
FOR THE MEDICAL PROFESSION:  The mental health industry, doctors and the pharmaceutical companies do not want to see and end of their incomes as well. These specialties make money from domestic violence. Medicines to treat injuries, mental and physical, and the visits to the doctor all produce profits. 
FOR THE UNDERGROUND ECONOMY:  And this does not even address the underground economy produced by domestic violence. Payments to police to write ambiguous or false reports, Court Clerks and District Attorneys to lose or not use evidence and judges to not find these abusers guilty of felony assaults produce unreported incomes. 
FOR THE GOVERNMENT:  Finally, there is the economics of incarceration. It is cheaper for governments to allow domestic violence to continue than to jail abusers. There would be a need for at least 16% more jail cells and the staff to oversee the prisoner population  if domestic violence were to be prosecuted as a crime.


Costs of Intimate Partner Violence in the United States

      The costs of intimate partner rape, physical assault, and stalking exceed $5.8 billion each year, nearly $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health care services. The total costs of IPV also include nearly $0.9 billion in lost productivity from paid work and household chores for victims of nonfatal IPV and $0.9 billion in lifetime earnings lost by victims of IPV homicide. The largest proportion of the costs is derived from physical assault victimization because that type of IPV is the most prevalent. The largest component of IPV-related costs is health care, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the total costs.

The average cost for a prisoner per year is  $19,903 per year per person. With 4 million incidents of domestic violence per year, the cost to incarcerate abusers would be just over 80.5 BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR.  Welcome to reality.  It is cheaper to kill us than to stop the abusers.  To our government, we are better off dead and so are any of the successive victims of the abuser. And this figure does not take into account the cost of prosecution.

Using the cost of arresting and prosecuting an abuser in Washington DC and projecting it across the country, here are just some of the costs involved :

Police (Just 2 hours per case, low side)                       $      257,680,000

Court costs                                                   320,000,000

Prosecutor                                                    273,000,000

Incarceration for 1 year in local jail                                  79,612,000,000

            Total             $80,462,760,000

Here is another interesting fact:  It is cheaper to get a violence file sealed than to fight the offense in court  according to  http://www.dccourts.gov/dccourts/superior/dv/filings.jsp

Filing a notice of appeal costs $100 and sealing a criminal record costs $20.

The United States Government is practicing selective death for the bottom line.  The victim or their insurance company generally pays the dollar cost of domestic violence.  If the government were to take action, the costs of reducing or eliminating domestic violence would significantly impact the National Debt.  With over one-half of the population female and one-third of those females being victims of domestic violence, the government has chosen to allow one-sixth of the population become possible victims of murder.  Isn't it nice to know your life, as a female, isn't worth enough to prosecute these crimes?


(1) http://www.abanet.org/marketresearch/2009_NATL_LAWYER_by_State.pdf

(2) http://www.michbar.org/pmrc/articles/0000142.pdf

(3) http://www.abanet.org/marketresearch/2009_NATL_LAWYER_by_State.pdf



Police Officer:  $67,000/52/40x2x4,000,000= $67,000=1288.46=32.21=64.42=


Washington DC  Prosecutor:  $71,000/52/40x2x4,000,000= $71,000=1365.38=34.13=68.27=



Court Cost, Washington DC:  COMPLAINT/PETITION $80.00x 4,000,000=



Filing a notice of appeal costs $100 and sealing a criminal record costs $20.

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Average cost per year to incarcerate an inmate
Federal prison (1997)
State prison (1998)
$20,261 ($8,895-$36,526)
Local jail (1998)
$19,903 ($8,037-$66,795)
Sources: Federal Bureau of Prisons, Key Indicators/Strategic Support System, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, October 1997; Camp, Camille G., and George M. Camp, The 1998 Corrections Yearbook, South Salem, NY: Criminal Justice Institute, 1999.

$19,903 x 4,000,000=


1 comment:

Rj said...

And there's not much to say after this...