What’s a $1M block?

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A million dollar block is a neighborhood with enough imprisoned residents to spend at least one million dollars on prison bills. Focusing resources on these areas could reduce crime and incarceration rates, freeing up funds for social services. Many of these blocks have high poverty and minority populations. Crime mapping can help identify these areas.

A million dollar block is a neighborhood or block with enough imprisoned residents to spend at least one million dollars on prison bills. The cost of imprisonment is so high that it takes surprisingly few imprisoned residents to reach the million dollar mark, generating the related “five million dollar block”. In a million-dollar blockade, more government resources can be spent on confinement than any other social or public service, raising a variety of questions in extremely poor and crime-ridden neighborhoods.

The million-dollar block concept emerged in 1998 when researchers in New York City began mapping prisons block by block, creating a visual representation of how many people in each block were in prison. They identified a number of hot neighborhoods, where large numbers of former residents were in prison, and started calling them “million-dollar blocks.” Looking at the multi-million dollar blocks, a number of trends were identified; such blocs, for example, typically have large numbers of citizens below the poverty line, along with high numbers of minorities.

People concerned about criminal justice have suggested that instead of using abstract measures to prevent crime, cities could focus their resources on multimillion-dollar blocks. The argument is that by focusing social services efforts on specific areas, cities may be able to mitigate the conditions that make a neighborhood particularly prone to crime, potentially reducing the incarceration rate and thus freeing up resources for other things, such as education, public works, health care, and so on.

The million-dollar blockade also draws attention to the way criminal justice is being handled. Many multimillion-dollar blocks have former residents who have been imprisoned for violent crimes, but many more are imprisoned for non-violent crimes such as robbery or drug use. By focusing on how much money is spent on incarceration for these crimes, some activists hope to see increased interest in public service programs and other alternatives to prison, freeing up prison space and public funds.

Finding out whether or not you live on a million dollar block can be a challenge. Some cities have started crime mapping pilot programs like the one used in New York City, and these maps are sometimes available to the public. If they aren’t, or your city hasn’t tried crime mapping yet, you might consider pushing for an open crime mapping program, as rearranging existing crime data can sometimes reveal hidden trends a city could use. to your advantage.

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