Cost-effectiveness of Prison System Development - Comparison of the European Countries


  • Elina Kruze Riga Graduate School of Law
  • Janis Priede University of Latvia



The possibility to achieve successful resocialization of former prisoners back into society is an ongoing public debate, making it challenging for policymakers to implement prisoner rehabilitation programs capable of maintaining the public safety while allocating public funds in the most efficient way. The main aim of this study is to examine what is necessary for an investment in prison system development to be justified. The hypothesis of this study suggests that such investment can be cost-effective by reducing crime and recidivism rates in the long term by ensuring proper rehabilitation of prisoners. Accordingly, this research compares various European countries regarding their imprisonment standards and costs in order to conclude which countries operate in the most effective way and what is crucial to obtain a decrease in the reoffending rates. The key results suggest that it is possible to find a correlation between such variables as the imprisonment costs, incarceration rates and the recidivism rates. It is possible to draw parallels between the amount of money countries spend on one prisoner a year and the recidivism rates of such countries, suggesting that the reoffending rates can be reduced by increasing the amount of resources allocated for the improvement of prisoner’s lives. Furthermore, such an investment should not only take the form of establishment of a proper environment for successful rehabilitation – prisoners should be provided with education and work possibilities to prepare them for life outside the prison walls. Moreover, the study highlights the need for post-release support mechanisms capable of re-integrating former convicts back into society, since such mechanisms could reduce the likelihood of re-offending.







Social Evolution of Europe