From a report by Daniel Miller called “Man Up: Recruiting and Retaining African-American Male Mentors”:
According to recent research on mentoring, evidence strongly suggests that mentoring is perhaps one of the most cost effective interventions available for school-based and community-based programs. Based on findings from Fountain & Arbeton, mentoring programs estimated costs range from $1,000 to $1,500 a year per mentor (depending upon the nature of the program). These costs are much lower than intensive remedial programming and more comprehensive service programs. Further the annual per youth costs for mentoring are considerably lower than the cost of incarcerating one juvenile for a year. Based on data from the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention, the average amount of money it takes to incarcerate a youth for one year is $43,000. This comes to roughly $117 per day. High-end detention programs cost about $64,000 per year ($175 per day) and low-end programs cost about $23,000 ($63 per day).
It is better to prevent to intervene. It is also better to intervene after the first offense in order to try to keep a pattern from developing into adulthood. This is is irrespective to race, gender and socio-economic status.
I’m reminded of a quote from John J. Diluio, the first director of the White House Office of Faith and Community Based Initiatives under President George W. Bush said..
Strategically, the key to preventing youth crime and substance abuse among our country’s expanding juvenile population is to improve the real, live, day to day connections between responsible adults and young people – period… No policy, program or intervention that fails to build a meaningful connection between adults and at-risk young people has worked or can.
Which is why mentoring is vitally important, and we need all hands on deck!