Evidence Suggests Forfeiture Doesn’t Work

Proponents offer two main arguments in support of forfeiture. First, they argue it fights crime by hitting criminals where it hurts—in their wallets—and channels the proceeds into greater law enforcement efforts. Proponents claim that, in taking the profit out of crime, forfeiture is more effective in taking down criminals and cartels than criminal prosecutions alone. Moreover, it supposedly turns criminals’ money into greater funds for law enforcement, which can be used to fight more crime. Second, proponents often claim forfeiture proceeds can be used to compensate crime victims and invest in anti-drug and other community programs. While these arguments may sound reasonable, they are not supported by evidence. Available data call both into question.