They have been calculated somewhat, as this article from Slate notes.
“Crime doesn’t pay, supposedly. But it does cost society something. The question is how much.
“Researchers at Iowa State University recently attempted to run the numbers. They wanted to include not just the direct costs—the damaged property and lost careers and prison upkeep and lawyer fees—but also the broader and more intangible societal costs, such as more frequent police patrols, more complicated alarm systems, and more expensive life-insurance plans. If we knew how much a crime costs society, their reasoning went, maybe we could better decide how much money to spend trying to stop it.
“They found that each burglary in the United States—a car break-in, for example—costs $41,288. For armed robberies the cost increases eightfold, to $335,733. Every aggravated assault costs $145,379. Each rape costs $448,532.
“Then there is murder. The researchers, led by sociologist Matt DeLisi, put the price tag at a whopping $17,252,656. That means in 2009, according to the FBI, murder cost the United States almost $263 billion—nearly as much the federal government annually spends on Medicaid.”
The difficulty in reforming a part of the Church, such as the Legionaries of Christ, even after abundant evidence of the evil actions—over a lifetime—of its founder, as reported by Chiesa, is testament to how difficult it is to effect change within the larger Church in the world.
It reminds us that it is not the people—save Peter and the saints—of the Church that need inform our living of our faith, but the teachings, the dogma; and here, we are to consult scripture, the Church Fathers, and the universal Catechisms of the Church from the Council of Trent and Vatican II, first and second editions.
An excerpt from Chiesa.
“ROME, October 25, 2010 – Now that he has been made a cardinal, Archbishop Velasio De Paolis will have even more authority in implementing the mandate he has received from Benedict XVI to salvage the Legionaries of Christ, brought to the brink of ruin by their founder, Marcial Maciel, and by the men of his inner circle.
“But the difficulties that the pontifical delegate is encountering are significant. The superiors of the congregation, the most powerful of which is vicar general Luís Garza Medina (in the photo), are by no means giving up on the idea of remaining in their positions of command, now and always.
“In mid-September, De Paolis asked Garza to give up the main offices that he holds, at least those of territorial director for Italy, supervisor of consecrated virgins of the movement Regnum Christi, general prefect of studies and head of the financial holding company Integer. But Garza said no. A chill has fallen between the two.
“De Paolis has been in office since June 16, but has only been able to operate and decide fully since this October, when he was finally given the four “advisers” that the Vatican authorities had promised him four months earlier. One of them, Brian Farrel, is a Legionary with an important role in the Vatican curia, a proponent of a decisive shift in the direction of the congregation. Two others, the Jesuit Gianfranco Ghirlanda and Sacred Heart Fr. Agostino Montan, are highly experienced canon lawyers, even more in favor of decisive action for reform. The one most inclined to negotiate with the heads of the Legionaries appears to be the fourth, Mario Marchesi, previously a professor at their university.
“Last October 19, De Paolis addressed to the Legionaries and members of Regnum Christi a long and well-constructed letter, reproduced in its entirety further below, which gives fairly clear indications of the process of “rebuilding” and “renewal” that the pontifical delegate intends to undertake. And of the obstacles that he is encountering.
“De Paolis describes his project as “change in continuity,” with the accent on the first word. The changes – he writes – include “not a few things.” They concern freedom of conscience, the role of confessors and spiritual directors, the forms of control over everyday life, and more. But the point on which he is insisting most is “the problem of the exercise of authority within the Legion,” including the way in which the superiors relate with each other.
“De Paolis dedicates numerous passages and one entire paragraph of the letter to the need for superiors to change the way in which they act. For the first time in an official Church document, he states in black and white the thesis according to which “the current superiors could not have been unaware of the offenses of the founder,” and so “by remaining silent about them, they would have been lying.” He does not endorse this thesis, but he also does not rule it out. In conjecturing that their knowledge of the outrages of the founder would have come about “late and gradually,” he does not say how or when. And in effect it is now common opinion, even among the Vatican authorities, that Garza and the other ultra-faithful of Maciel knew of and covered up his double life as early as the early 1990’s, long before his denunciation in 2006 and his death in 2008.
“But in spite of this, it could be gathered from the letter from De Paolis that for now neither he nor the Vatican authorities intend to remove the superiors of the Legion by executive fiat. They are instead trying to get them to leave their positions of their own will, or at least immediately change their attitude, because – as stated in the letter – “if we get caught up in the desire to prevail, and to impose our own ideas on the others, disaster is certain.”
“The fact remains that, so far, no trace of this desired conversion has been seen in the leaders. By closing ranks, they are withholding visibility and initiative from the healthy part of the Legion, those dozens, hundreds of priests and novices who yearn for a renewal of their religious life, but continue to suffer highly suffocating restrictions and pressures, on the individual and collective level.”
Understanding the costs involved in all aspects of decision-making in the criminal justice system benefits everyone, and it appears, as this article in Governing reports, that evaluating government criminal justice programs is becoming more common, which is very good news.
“How much does it cost?
“It is a question we have asked hundreds of times since we were old enough to visit the candy store with a few coins in our pockets. In a market economy, each of us makes hundreds of decisions about what to eat, drive and wear, and our choices are guided in large part by prices.
“Governments often operate in the dark when it comes to cost, particularly in the realm of criminal justice.
“A recent article in The New York Times notes that Missouri judges will now be informed of the costs associated with the sentences they issue. According to the article:
“A second-degree robber, a judge could be told, would carry a price tag of less than $9,000 for five years of intensive probation, but more than $50,000 for a comparable prison sentence and parole afterward. The bill for a murderer’s 30-year prison term: $504,690.
“Prosecutors worry that judges will now tend to hand out more lenient, less costly sentences. But others claim that this information will only help judges make smarter choices in a world of limited resources.
“In California, for example, budget woes have prompted the early release of prisoners. The New York Times noted that “The goal is to reduce the number of inmates in the state’s 33 prisons next year by 6,500 — more than the entire state prison population in 2009 of Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah or West Virginia.” It costs California about $47,000 on average to house a prisoner for a year, and currently the Golden State spends more on incarceration than higher education. Given the state’s budget crisis, these costs are coming under scrutiny, and the state is moving to release the least dangerous prisoners early to cut costs and relieve overcrowding.
“There are some who argue that you shouldn’t put a price tag on “justice.” But imagine grocery shopping in a store without any prices. Guided only by desires, the cart might get filled with filet mignon and caviar, not to mention those yummy whoopee pies from the bakery.
“But in a world of limited resources — that is, the real world — every expenditure represents a tradeoff. More of this means less of that. How can anyone make good decisions without cost information?
“Yet when it comes to cost, government often operates in the dark. How much does it “cost” to borrow a library book? At your local “free” public library there is no price, but there is a cost. Just like there is a price but no cost for a visit from police, a criminal trial or a year spent in jail.
“Government can’t and shouldn’t attempt to charge for its services — you don’t want to have to enter your credit card number for the fire department when your house is on fire. But understanding costs can lead to better decision-making.
“Texas is hardly a state known for coddling criminals, or for lavish public spending. But when the Texas Sunset Commission looked at the operations of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, it recommended “significant additional funds to TDCJ for offender treatment and rehabilitation programs proven to reduce recidivism.” Why? Because a dollars and sense case was made that it was worthwhile to invest in rehabilitation and education for inmates to avoid the costs of future visits to the pokey. The Sunset Commission noted that legislators lacked good data on what programs did and didn’t work, and how much various approaches cost. Recidivism, it turns out, is a huge cost driver. But without insight into the relative costs and effectiveness of rehabilitation programs, lawmakers were operating in the dark.
“They say that justice should be blind. When it comes to guilt or innocence, that is certainly true. But when it comes to putting scarce resources to use to maximize public value, we need to better understand costs and trade-offs.”
What is sad about this story from California Catholic Daily News, is that these gangs have been actively involved in the street/prison culture since the 1950’s and their culture is generations deep and so woven into the fabric of the enabling worldly culture, that virtually all attempts to combat their influence—by those with the very best intentions but sadly lacking in deep knowledge of why the gangs have formed and how they really live—have (based on rigorous evaluations) failed.
Criminal transformation can only come from within the soul of a penitential criminal; either by his efforts or with the guidance of a reformed criminal whose leadership will be accepted by the penitential criminal.
What is truly heartening however, is that this effort is coming from the Catholic Church, the only institution possessing the fullness of truth potent enough to trump the narrative of the criminal world.
“Oakland, Oct 16, 2010 (CNA) — Captain Paul Figueroa opened a September gang awareness workshop at his alma mater, Oakland’s St. Elizabeth Elementary School, noting that as a student at the parish’s neighboring high school, he couldn’t wear the school’s red color because he didn’t want to be confused with the Norteño gang that controlled his neighborhood.
“Now wearing the dark blue of the Oakland Police Department, Figueroa helped bring about the first of several planned workshops in the diocese to teach parents, educators, clergy and staff how to recognize gang involvement and intervene.
“About 70 teachers and staff from St. Anthony, St. Elizabeth, St. Bernard and St. Louis Bertrand parishes attended, learning about the symbols, colors and mentality associated with the city’s largest Hispanic gangs.
“We’re really going to be aggressive about trying to give you the information so when you see it firsthand, you can try to reach out and stop it, right from jump street,” Figueroa said.
“Bishop Salvatore Cordileone requested the training, which will eventually extend to parents and children in the parishes, said Father Jesus Nieto-Ruiz, pastor of St. Anthony Parish. Father Nieto-“Ruiz is leading the training efforts for his largely-Latino deanery.
“The idea is to get parents training on the gang culture and see if there is a way to intervene and prevent more teens from joining gangs,” said Father Nieto-Ruiz, noting that Latino gang members’ families are generally Catholic.
“Gang culture hit close to home as Officer Doug Keely showed a clip from “Gang Wars: Oakland,” a television documentary that followed Keely and other members of OPD’s eight-man gang unit through familiar Oakland streets, as well as violent members of Oakland’s primary Hispanic gangs: the Norteños, Sureños and Border Brothers.
“Keely indicated that the gangs mostly operate in East Oakland and parts of West Oakland.
“The Norteños’ color is red, and members are the “foot soldiers” of the prison gang La Nuestra Familia, Keely explained.
“The Sureños wear blue and are affiliated with the Mexican Mafia prison gang. The Border Brothers wear black, he said.”
Regarding the issue of Catholic politicians promoting abortion, the Vatican has again spoken definitively, as reported by the California Catholic Daily.
“ROME (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking at the Human Life International World Prayer Congress on Saturday, Oct. 9, Archbishop Raymond Burke received sustained applause when he noted that Catholic politicians who support abortion are required to repent publicly.
“Speaking to pro-life leaders from 45 nations, the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (the highest Vatican court) also noted that those who recognize the scandal caused by such public, dissident Catholics assist the Church in repairing a serious breach, but are nevertheless often ridiculed for it.
“Archbishop Burke stressed that “both bishops and the faithful” must be obedient to the Magisterium – which he described as the teaching of Christ as handed down through the successor of Peter and the bishops in union with him. “When the shepherds of the flock are obedient to the Magisterium, entrusted to their exercise, then surely the members of the flock grow in obedience and proceed with Christ along the way of salvation,” he said. “If the shepherd is not obedient the flock easily gives way to confusion and error.”
“Burke, who is also a member of the Congregation for Bishops added: “A most tragic example of the lack of obedience of faith, also on the part of certain Bishops, was the response of many to the Encyclical Letter Humanae vitae of Pope Paul VI, published on July 25, 1968. The confusion which resulted has led many Catholics into habits of sin in what pertains to the procreation and education of human life.”
“Humanae Vitae reiterated age-old Christian teaching on the immorality of the use of artificial contraception. However, after its publication the encyclical was repudiated by many within the Catholic Church, including priests and bishops, who had believed that the Church would change its views on contraception.
“Turning to the issue of scandal within the Church, the archbishop said, “We find self-professed Catholics, for example, who sustain and support the right of a woman to procure the death of the infant in her womb, or the right of two persons of the same sex to the recognition which the State gives to a man and a woman who have entered into marriage. It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and to conduct oneself publicly in this manner.”
“To resounding applause Burke said, “When a person has publicly espoused and cooperated in gravely sinful acts, leading many into confusion and error about fundamental questions of respect for human life and the integrity of marriage and the family, his repentance of such actions must also be public.”
Certain times seem to generate optimism, others pessimism, and for many observers of the public arena, this is one of those very optimistic times, as we wait for the results of the elections across the country that will surely usher in a new sense of public policy making.
With all of the hitches in the formerly ascendant narrative putting some halt to its once remorseless advance; the stiller, smaller, voices of the people have been raised in a dynamic chorus of hoping for change, and it does appear that change will occur, at least in public leadership.
Whether the change in public leadership—assuming it does happen—will actually lead to a change in public policy, remains to be seen, as many who enter the halls of power from main street often become so self-enamored by their very ascension, that they forget how and on whose shoulders they arose, but I am optimistic it will happen and they will not forget.
An article from the Chicago Sun Times advocates a drug program in every prison, but if we examine the rigorous evaluation of a large-scale effort (over 1$ billion) in California recently, which not only failed miserably but actually made the problem worse, maybe that is not such a good idea.
An excerpt from the press release of the California program.
“In a 60-page special review released Wednesday, the Office of the Inspector General reported that numerous university studies of the state’s in-prison substance abuse programs conducted over the past nine years consistently show no difference in recidivism rates between inmates who participated in the programs and those who received no substance abuse treatment. One five-year University of California, Los Angeles, study of the state’s two largest in-prison programs found, in fact, that the 12-month recidivism rates for inmates who received in-prison treatment was slightly higher than that of a control group.” Office of the Inspector General, Sacramento, California, February 21, 2007 Press Release “The states substance abuse treatment program for inmates do not reduce recidivism, yet cost the state $143 million per year”, pp. 1-2 italicized in original)
An excerpt from the Chicago Sun Times article.
“Two million, three hundred thousand Americans are in prison today — No. 1 in the world. That’s up from just 500,000 in 1980.
“Imprisonment is one of the most expensive items of state and local budgets. The cost of incarceration in the U.S. is estimated at more than $60 billion a year.
“Most of this increase is due to the prosecution of drug abusers that started in the ’80s. Drugs were rampant during that time, with 14 percent of Americans abusing illegal drugs monthly in 1980. That number is now down to 8 percent, but a whopping 68 percent of people arrested test positive for illegal drugs, according to Justice Department surveys of 30 cities.
“The nexus of drugs and crime is simply undeniable.
“There is a solution other than putting drug abusers behind bars — drug treatment. Though 68 percent of arrestees test positive for drugs, only 14 percent of prisoners receive treatment.
“Birmingham, Ala., was able to call a halt on building a new prison 15 years ago when the city instituted an arrestees’ drug treatment program. And the Sheridan Correctional Center, a medium security facility 70 miles west of Chicago that houses male offenders, found that prisoners who completed treatment after release were 40 percent less likely to be arrested a year later and 85 percent less likely to return to prison; counseling, job training and supervision were critical to this success.
“But when we asked the warden’s office at the famous Attica prison in New York if they had a drug treatment program, the staff told us, “We’re not a drug prison.”
“In fact, every prison needs to be a “drug” prison that provides treatment. Only then will we end the overcrowding and recidivism.”
$110 million funded for reentry and crime reduction programs, as announced by the Department of Justice on October 8, 2010.
Unfortunately, virtually all of these programs will be built on a service-based model rather than one of internal change; a model which has met with sustained failure over several decades, as our post on rehabilitation evaluation reveals.
An excerpt from the DOJ News Release.
“WASHINGTON, D.C. – Speaking at the European Offenders Employment Forum today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced $110 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 funding for the Second Chance Act reentry grants and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. These two efforts focus on reducing recidivism rates and state and local spending on corrections through the use of evidence-based, smart-on-crime approaches implemented by state, local, tribal and non-profit partners. The department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is administering the grants, research, and training and technical assistance.
“Today’s Department of Justice is dedicated to being smart, not only tough, on crime – and our reentry efforts are no exception,” said Attorney General Holder. “It’s vital that we help ensure that people who want to improve our society, as well as their own circumstances, have opportunities to grow, to learn, and to contribute. By joining together, I believe that we can realize our shared vision of safe, thriving communities.”
“According to OJP’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are more than 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States. Ninety-five percent of all people incarcerated today will eventually be released and will return to their communities. The conference, Oct. 7-8 in Washington, D.C., was convened by the National Transitional Jobs Network and the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion to discuss promising practices, policies, and strategies for prisoner reentry.
“We have a responsibility to partner with communities to keep the public safe and to ensure ex-offenders are fully equipped to become productive, law-abiding citizens, ” said Laurie O. Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for OJP, who also spoke at the conference. “This includes supporting community-based programs that are successful, and backed by evidence of effectiveness.”
The Holy Father has created a new Pontifical Council, as this Vatican news release notes, where the Catechism is a major tool, which is very good news as it is one of the best tools of the Church.
“VATICAN CITY, 12 OCT 2010 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the newly-founded Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, explained the contents of “Ubicumque et semper”, the Apostolic Letter “Motu Proprio data” by which Benedict XVI establishes the new dicastery.
“The theme of new evangelisation has been the subject of deep reflection by Church Magisterium over recent decades”, said Archbishop Fisichella. “It is immediately clear that this goal represents a challenge to the entire Church, which must … find adequate ways to renew her announcement to many baptised people who no longer understand what it means to belong to the Christian community, and are victims of the subjectivism of our times with its closure in an individualism that often lacks public and social responsibility. The ‘Motu Proprio’ directly identifies those Churches of ancient tradition which … require a renewed missionary spirit, one capable of helping them make a forward leap to meet the new requirements which the current historical situation imposes”.
“As ‘Ubicumque et semper’ makes clear, new evangelisation is not a mere formula, identical in all circumstances”, the archbishop explained. “Rather, it obliges us to develop well-founded ideas capable of acting as support to a corresponding pastoral activity. Moreover it must be capable of carefully verifying the various traditions and goals that the Churches possess by virtue of the treasure of their centuries-long history: a plurality of forms that does not undermine unity”.
“Nor must new evangelisation sound like “an abstract formula”, the president of the new dicastery continued his remarks. “We must”, he said, “fill it with theological and pastoral content, and we will do so with the strong support of the Magisterium of recent decades”, also bearing in mind “the many initiatives which, over the course of recent years, have been enacted by individual bishops in their particular Churches, episcopal conferences and groups of believers”.
“Among the tasks entrusted to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation is that of promoting the use of the Catechism of the Universal Church. “The Catechism is indeed”, the prelate noted, “one of the most mature fruits to emerge from the directives of Vatican Council II. It is an organic compilation of the entire heritage of the development of dogma and is the most complete instrument to transmit the unchanging faith in the face of the constant changes and questions the world poses to believers”.