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It Costs a Quarter-Million Dollars a Year to Incarcerate a Youth or $1,300 for a Prevention Program

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California spends $10 billion on incarceration -- that's about $3 billion more than it does on the UC and CSU education systems. To jail an adult, it costs about $46,000 a year. A minor costs even more: a staggering $252,000 a year. These numbers are the reason Congressman Bobby Scott (D - VA) is working to pass a bill ( HR 3846) that could inject $2.9 billion into gang prevention, which he says is much more cost efficient with yearly costs running an average of $1,300 a year.

Scott's Youth Promise (Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education) Act (YPA) is a bill that seeks to increase funding for community- based gang prevention and intervention programs in poverty stricken areas.