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Cost-Benefit Analysis and Justice Policy Toolkit

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2014
40 pages
Christian Henrichson; Joshua Rinaldi
This toolkit guides criminal justice system analysts in the basic steps of cost-benefit analysis (CBA).
The introduction notes that criminal justice policymakers must make difficult choices under the constraints of limited resources. In making decisions, policymakers are increasingly using CBA, an economic tool that compares the costs of programs or policies with the benefits they deliver. The hallmark of CBA is that costs and benefits are expressed in monetary terms so they can be directly compared. Because the investment's effects are expressed in dollars, CBA enables decisionmakers to compare policies and programs that have different purposes and outcomes. The six basic steps of CBA are discussed. First, identify the investment's potential impacts. Second, quantify the investment's impact. Third, determine marginal costs. Fourth, calculate costs, benefits, and net current value. Fifth, test the assumptions. Sixth report the results. 25 resource listings, 35 notes, and appended summary of CBA capacity-building technical assistance

Date Created: December 26, 2019