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Building Cost-Benefit Analysis Capacity in Criminal Justice: Notes From a Roundtable Discussion

NCJ Number
Tina Chiu
Date Published
April 2013
16 pages
This report presents the results of a roundtable discussion conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice on the need for improving the cost-benefit analysis capacity in criminal justice systems.
This report presents the highlights from a roundtable discussion on ways to improve the cost-benefit analysis capacity in criminal justice systems. The discussions were held by the Vera Institute of Justice with the goal of obtaining information from individuals involved in criminal justice who conduct cost-benefit analyses (CBA). The discussion centered around the need for expertise in conducting cost-benefit studies, the need for trusted and creditable organizations to house this expertise, and the need for structures and processes that would assist in bringing the results of cost-benefit analyses to policymakers and integrating these results into the decisionmaking process. The first part of the report includes a discussion on organizations that can house CBA capacity, focusing on how an organization can develop credibility, especially if it is just starting out; and identifying and hiring the right people for conducting CBAs. The next part of the report presents the results of the discussion on making CBA part of the decision-making process. A set of recommendations is presented at the end of the report for ways in which jurisdictions can effectively build their CBA capacity. These recommendations include increasing the pool of CBA experts by improving training in graduate-level criminology programs; increasing access to data about costs in the criminal justice system; increasing the amount of and access to information about program outcomes; and highlighting decision-makers who use cost-benefit information in policymaking and planning.

Date Published: April 1, 2013