It costs €50,000 a year to send a repeat offender to prison but at the same time saves €150,000 in stolen property, damages and policing costs, crime economist Ben Vollaard says in Thursday’s Telegraaf.
By locking up repeat offenders for a longer periods, some 250,000 burglaries and car thefts can be avoided, Vollaard says.
In practice the total savings will be higher because the economist has not included bike thefts or shoplifting in his calculations.
Vollaard stresses his findings only apply to repeat offenders. ‘In all other categories, longer prison sentences cost money and deliver little,’ he told the paper.
At the moment, some 500 repeat offenders are currently being held in a special prison unit, known as ISD. These are mainly drug addicts who steal to feed their habits and are locked up for between two and three years at a time.
The paper says the ISD unit has led to a 10% drop in petty crime in the big cities.
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