« Ninth Circuit questioning notable terrorism sentencing | Main | More coverage of Belmontes »

November 14, 2006

A fascinating report on "what works"

Thanks to this post at Corrections Sentencing, I came across this extraordinary new report from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy.  The report is entitled "Evidence-Based Public Policy Options to Reduce Future Prison Construction, Criminal Justice Costs, and Crime Rates," and here is how it summarizes its work and findings:

We conducted a systematic review of all research evidence we could locate to identify what works, if anything, to reduce crime.  We found and analyzed 571 rigorous comparison-group evaluations of adult corrections, juvenile corrections, and prevention programs, most of which were conducted in the United States.  We then estimated the benefits and costs of many of these evidence-based options. Finally, we projected the degree to which alternative "portfolios" of these programs could affect future prison construction needs, criminal justice costs, and crime rates in Washington.

We find that some evidence-based programs can reduce crime, but others cannot. Per dollar of spending, several of the successful programs produce favorable returns on investment.  Public policies incorporating these options can yield positive outcomes for Washington. We project the long-run effects of three example portfolios of evidence-based options: a "current level" option as well as "moderate" and "aggressive" implementation portfolios.  We find that if Washington successfully implements a moderate-to-aggressive portfolio of evidence-based options, a significant level of future prison construction can be avoided, taxpayers can save about two billion dollars, and crime rates can be reduced.

Anyone seriously interested in "crime control" approach to sentencing and punishment has to check out this report and its many intriguing findings.  Of particular interest is Exhibit 4 on page 9, which provides a detailed (and often suprising) account of the benefits and costs of various programs.  That exhibit indictates, for examples, that family-oriented treatments of juvenile offenders are quite successful at reducing crime, while Scared Straight programming actually increases crime.

November 14, 2006 at 06:33 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A fascinating report on "what works":


Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB